Bendigo tighten grip at top of WNBL ladder
Adrian Warren
16:01 AEST Sun Dec 9 2012

The coach of defending WNBL champions Dandenong can't see anyone catching runaway ladder leaders Bendigo after his team suffered a third loss this season to the Spirit.

Bendigo (11-1) pulled further away from closest challengers Dandenong (10-3) with a 79-72 home win over the Rangers on Saturday.

Kristi Harrower scored 20 for Bendigo and produced a strong second half defensive effort on fellow Opals Olympic guard Kathleen Macleod.

Both Spirit coach Bernie Harrower and his Rangers counterpart Mark Wright believe the minor premiership is Bendigo's to win or lose even though there is still half a season to go.

"I can't see them going off the top as it stands at the moment," said Wright, whose side has not lost a game this season apart from their three defeats to Bendigo.

"They are a very well balanced, well coached team that executes their plays very well.

"Unless injury raises its ugly head they seem pretty complete. They are deeply talented and they are playing well so that's a good formula."

Harrower pointed out Bendigo had already played most of their games against the other top teams.

"We've played nine games against teams in the top five and now we reverse that in the second half of the season when we play nine games against the teams in the bottom five," Harrower told AAP.

"For Dandenong to get back in front of us now, we have to drop three games out of the last 12 and they have to win every game so the pressure is on (Dandenong).

"We're three games ahead of Adelaide (8-4) and two games in front of Dandenong and I think they are the only teams that can really challenge us, to push us out of the top two.

"Our destiny is in our own hands."

Sparked by 24 points from centre Suzy Batkovic, Adelaide scored an 85-48 home win over West Coast (2-12), while the Waves also lost 73-52 at Bulleen (7-6).

West Coast fell to last below Sydney (3-9), who clambered off the bottom with an impressive 96-50 home thrashing of Canberra (5-7).

Import April Sykes scored 29 for Sydney, while Canberra coach Carrie Graf lamented her side's awful ball control following their fourth straight loss.

"Twenty-two turnovers for 34 (Sydney) points, that's the game right there," Graf said.

"That's been our problem for the last three weeks - our ability to not value possession. It costs you games."

Townsville (6-6) stayed just outside the top four after a 85-72 home win over Logan (4-8).

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