CHALKING up a win last round should reset Ballarat Rush for a crucial week ahead.
Integra Rush will launch an eight-day period, pivotal to its finals chances, in a match the South East Australian Basketball League branded game of the week.
East conference leader Dandenong arrives at the MARS Minerdome on Saturday night with only two losses this season.
Rush must pull off a huge upset to remain in touch with the east’s best.
A trip to face south conference leader and arch-rival Bendigo on Friday and a home game against in-form conference rival Brisbane, featuring former Rush coach Donna Rinaldi, on Saturday is ahead.
There is no room for error any more.
Rush enters the week in strong form following an overtime loss to Nunawading and gritty win against Knox last weekend.
Steph Cumming’s instrumental form was finally recognised with SEABL player of the week honours for her efforts against both Nunawading (34 points, five assists) and Knox (20 points, seven rebounds, five assists).
Rush youngster Abbey Wehrung is proving a key player, averaging 12.4 points, four rebounds and two assists per game.
Captain Kristy Rinaldi’s sharp-shooting and leadership with American import Nya Mason asserting her dominance as a strong presence inside the paint will also be crucial in setting the tone for Rush against the Rangers this weekend.
It will take a full team effort – right down the bench – to combat the Rangers.
When they met earlier this season, Rush was dealt a heavy 67-86 wake-up call.
Despite starting strongly, Rush converted just 15 per cent from the field in the second quarter.
This was the start of Rush’s downfall.
The Rangers have impressive experience and depth.
Amelia Todhunter and Lauren Scherf lead the Rangers’ charge - Todhunter averaging 13 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists a game, and Scherf averaging 14 points and 8.4 rebounds.
The duo have strong support from their teammates.
Rush produced some stunning upsets early in the season and is determined to regain that spark against the Rangers to bolster a finals bid.