Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits fight back from the depths

HAVING to rebound from one 70-plus point loss in a basketball game is bad enough, but twice in one year?

Welcome to the Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits’ SEABL season.

The Border outfit suffered a 71-point humiliation at the hands of the Dandenong Lady Rangers last weekend, the Lady Bandits’ 18th consecutive defeat.

Incredibly, it wasn’t the first time they had been thrashed by such a margin in their largely fruitless campaign.

Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence put Albury-Wodonga to the sword in round 2 to the tune of a 111-41 beatdown.

But in a huge boilover the following week, the Lady Bandits defeated the Sandringham Lady Sabres for their only win so far this season.

And while Lady Bandits coach James Ballinger isn’t necessarily expecting the same result this weekend on the road against the Canberra Capitals Academy, the second-year mentor said the challenge to mentally recover from such a demoralising loss was still there.

“This week has been similar to the week after the loss to the Centre of Excellence,” Ballinger said.

“I’m not saying the result will be the same but the challenge for us is getting up mentally.

“Physically, we’ll be fine, but we need to be mentally ready to compete.

“It’s a big challenge for us and we’ll soon find out if we’ve have got over the mental scars.”

After a 10-game run without notching double-digit scoring, young gun Montana Farrah-Seaton bounced back to score a season-high 24 points in the road defeat to Bendigo last Friday night.

Albury-Wodonga will need Farrah-Seaton and playmaker Sophie Kleeman to step up their offence to support star Emilee Harmon against a Caps Academy that has only won two games.

But the Lady Bandits will be without US import Rachel Maenpaa, who fractured her right middle finger in the loss to Hobart two weeks ago, while captain Tenille Collins will also be unavailable.

“I’ve said this before but you can never get too high with wins or too low with losses,” Ballinger said.

“I expect us to be competitive; the scoreboard is irrelevant.

“We need to break it down into four quarters and put in a strong effort for the whole game.”