The NBL1 Cobra Women have seen their eight game win streak come to an end, losing to the Nunawading Spectres, 71-78 at home on Saturday night.


Hampered by a nightmare opening quarter, the Cobras were in catchup mode all night, going just 4-for-21 from the field to trail the Spectres, 24-9, after one period of play. With Lauren Nicholson and Sarah Boothe struggling early on, Klara Wischer carried the load offensively for the Cobras, scoring 12 second quarter points – including a beautiful euro step and-one finish in transition – to keep Kilsyth within striking distance heading into the main break. But while Wischer was firing away, the rest of the  within 27-38 at the half.


Wischer continued to sizzle in the third, adding another 12 points of her own to trim the deficit to eight heading into the final stanza, setting the stage for a thrilling finish. After being held in check through the first three periods, Nicholson finally got going late, combining with Clare Camac for a 10-2 run early in the final stanza to pull the Cobras to within 65-62 with six minutes remaining. The Cobras and Spectres then traded baskets for the ensuing three minutes, but a big three from Nunawading’s Rebecca Pizzey pushed the lead back out to five with under three minutes remaining.


Nicholson would respond again with a pair free throws, but the Spectres Kathleen Scheer delivered a pair of daggers – a mid range jumper and then a deep three with the shot clock expiring – to push the lead back out to six with 90 seconds remaining. With plenty of time still remaining, the Cobras inexplicably responded with a pair of rushed possessions, though, sealing and chances of a final comeback to lose their first game since April 14.


While Kilsyth head coach Sam Woosnam was disappointed with the end result, much of the Cobras difficulties on Saturday night were self inflicted, missing a number of easy looks around the rim in the early going to fall into a 16 point hole. The Cobras outplayed the Spectres over the final three quarters of the game, though, and if it wasn’t for their early struggles, Saturday’s result may have looked far different.


“Saturday’s loss was really disappointing,” Woosnam said.


“To shoot the ball at 19 percent in the first quarter is totally unacceptable for our group, but we had really some good looks that just didn’t hit.”

Wischer finished with a game-high 26 points, adding nine rebounds and three assists to compliment her season-high scoring night. Nicholson scored 10 if her 18 points in the final period; Camac drilled four triples off the bench for 13 points; and while she struggled to finish inside, Boothe was big on the glass, pulling down a season-best 15 rebounds to go along with nine points. Woosnam was particularly impressed with Wischer’s performance, with her versatile wing shaking off a shoulder injury to have arguably her best game of the season.


“Klara was great in all areas on Saturday,” Woosnam said.


“She has been struggling with a nagging shoulder injury so it was nice to see her shoot the ball well again and step up and really try to carry us.”


The loss dropped the Cobras to 9-5, seeing them slip from fourth to seventh in the league standings. They’ll look bounce back this Saturday night when they head to Dandenong to take on the Rangers, with the Rangers sitting a half game ahead of Kilsyth at 10-5. With the playoff race an extremely tight one – and the Cobras set to embark on a four-game road trip – Saturday’s game is a vital one for Woosnam and co., but her focus remains the same as it was during the Cobras eight game winning streak.


“We need a great week at training this week and go from there,” Woosnam added.


“We had a great prep against Knox and it showed, so the focus is on that again to get back on track for the remainder of the season.”