WNBL Round 11 Preview: Can the Spirit bounce back?

It's the business end of the season and teams are starting to realise that nobody is safe in their position on the ladder.

This round we will see how the top four teams perform under pressure, will they fall to a lower ranked team, or will they take care of business and assert their dominance? Tune in to find out how they go.

Will the Spirit bounce back in Caps rematch?

The top game from last round had to be the UC Capitals getting their first win of the season over top contender the Bendigo Spirit who are sitting third on the ladder. This week, the Spirit have a chance to get revenge, but will the Caps be up to the challenge?

Although the team is studded with solid and experienced players, the Spirit lost key player Kelsey Griffin early in the game due to what appeared as a minor injury. Seeing as she played in their second game last week, it is likely she will be back for their match up this round and will be sure to shake things up on court.

In saying this, the Caps were at an even bigger disadvantage last week, missing Alex Bunton, Britt Smart and Alison Schwagmeyer-Belger -- if they have any one of these three back then they'll be in a better position to take on the Spirit 2.0. Needless to say, the big four in Jade Melbourne, Shanice Swain, Rae Burrell and Nicole Munger will need to be in top form yet again and that still doesn't guarantee them a win.

Game of the week

In a battle of fifth vs sixth, the Perth Lynx and Sydney Flames will face off again in what is an important game for both teams. Sitting just outside the top four and having proven able to challenge the top teams, there's still a chance that either of these teams can make the top four. The Lynx have found themselves on a bit of a roll and are the more consistent of the two. They also were also the victors in their last contest and will be looking to gain momentum heading into the final stretch.

That's not to rule out their opposition entirely, they proved in their win over the Adelaide Lightning that they have some offensive depth; instead of Shyla Heal bringing the heat, Emma Clarke stepped up for the Flames. However, it isn't just about offence, and the Flames have a propensity to get in foul trouble which then leads to frustration and takes them out of their game plan by forcing important players to the bench. Considering this will be their second game of the round, it will take extra effort to remain focused and resilient. If they can stay locked in on defence but keep their foul count under control and maintain offensive pressure, then there is no reason they can't win this game.

Can the Fire retain their spot in the top four?

The Fire had a solid win over the Sydney Flames last week and after regaining Zitina Aokuso back from injury, they are looking strong. They are speedy thanks to Steph Reid and Lauren Nicholson but are still dangerous from deep with Karlie Samuelson and now they have the sturdy Aokuso to add to the rotation of bigs alongside Lara McSpadden and Mikaela Ruef.

This round they will face the struggling Adelaide Lightning who have lost some key players over the recent weeks. After losing their import, they now seem to be down one World Cup All-Star Five player in Steph Talbot, who missed pretty much both games last weekend due to a mysterious injury. They have still been playing with grit and their bench hasn't taken a backwards step with Abby Cubillo and Marena Whittle impressing lately. If Talbot returns this weekend, then the Lightning are still within a shot, however, if she is out then the Fire are likely to get the dub.