Lynx missing for struggling Spirit

Joel Peterson | Bendigo Weekly | 17-Nov-2017

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Rachel Banham has shouldered a big scoring load in Kelsey Griffin's absence.
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THE Bendigo Spirit will tonight need to recapture the offensive magic they showed last time they hosted Perth Lynx after a horror weekend.

Bendigo plays Perth tonight at Bendigo Stadium before facing Dandenong on Sunday as part of the WNBL’s cluster round, where every team will hit the court at the State Basketball Centre.

The first weekend without Kelsey Griffin proved a brutal one, the Spirit thumped by reigning champion Sydney Uni and perennial power Townsville by a combined 65 points in its past two games.

After the half way mark of the third quarter of its match against Sydney last Friday, Bendigo was outscored 146-80.

Its defensive shortcomings were stark, the Spirit allowing a colossal 199 points in the two games it played last round.

Coach Simon Pritchard said his team “fell apart” on Thursday night against the Flames, nor could it stand the heat against the Fire in Townsville on Saturday.

At one stage, the Fire led by 39 points.

“The team has to adjust to not having Kelsey, while she contributed say 16 points and 10 rebounds, it’s not as empirical as that,” Pritchard said.

“It’s not two rebounds from you and two from you, what Kelsey does it she makes two players guard her. 

“We no longer have someone drawing a double team, so now everyone is guarded more tightly, they have less time and space and the pressure is on everyone.”

Bendigo was able to exploit Perth’s similarly sieve-like defence last time the Lynx travelled to Bendigo, scoring 43 points in a torrid third quarter.

Pritchard is hoping for a repeat performance, and has put it on himself to find some leadership among the group and allow the team to enjoy the game.

“I think it’s going to be a challenge for me to be authoritative and demanding, but still be positive. We certainly had it on the weekend, we had moments in Townsville where I’m not pleased about the way I spoke to the players,” he said,

“I’ve got to make an adjustment and understand where we’re at and not having too high of expectations of certain people in certain moments.

“It’s also about the girls putting in full effort. They have to be positive, but also put in full effort all of the time and be the blue-collar team we really are.”

The game starts at 7pm.

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