THE Bendigo Spirit takes on top side the Perth Lynx in a vital Women’s National Basketball League match in Perth tonight.
The Spirit are looking to rebound from a disappointing run of three consecutive losses and get a season that promised so much just a few weeks ago, back on track.
Coach Simon Pritchard this week said upcoming away matches against Perth, the Canberra Capital and then Dandenong would be decisive to the team’s finals chances.
“This is our defining moment… we need to get a win in Perth.”
With four sides locked together on six wins, Pritchard said every game was crucial to his side’s finals chances.
Last weekend’s losses to Townsville (93-51), and then Sydney Flames (85-64) did not reflect the strong defensive reputation that the side earned early in the season, as a series of recent sluggish starts have proven tough to overcome.
A reflective Pritchard said his players played poorly against Townsville last Thursday night, especially given the sides’ recent close game in Bendigo.
He said the large Townsville crowd and the momentum of the game had been against the Spirit from the start, as a rampant Suzy Batkovic dominated on her home court.
“We know that it’s such a tough venue to win at,” Pritchard said.
“Once they got rolling there was not really a huge amount we could do, and we just played really poorly.”
The Spirit travelled to Sydney to play the Flames on Sunday afternoon, and again struggled to put together four quarters of good basketball, allowing the home side to achieve its first win of the season. For Bendigo, Rebecca Tobin again showed her consistency to top-score for the Spirit with 20 points, while Nadeen Payne added 15.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s challenges, Pritchard said top side Perth were a fast and dynamic side who played their own brand of basketball, and that the Spirit’s defensive effort needed to be much stronger.
The Spirit then travel to Canberra to take on the second placed Capitals, where a rejuvenated Kelsey Griffin awaits.