The NBL1 Cobra Women have advanced to the NBL1 Championship Game, taking on the Geelong Supercats at the State Basketball Centre in a Saturday night (5pm) title showdown.
The Cobras punched their ticket to the title game with a spectacular 82-59 home win over the Nunawading Spectres on Saturday night. The Big-3 of Lauren Nicholson, Sarah Boothe and Klara Wischer was simply unstoppable on Saturday night, with the trio combining for 60 points and 41 rebounds, while Kara Tessari caught fire from deep to help the Cobras secure their third championship game berth since 2015.
While the Cobras have played some incredible basketball of late – in particular the past two weeks – so have the Supercats, who finished the regular season with a 17-3 regular season record and advanced to the title game by defeating Bendigo at home in a three point thriller on Sunday. Boasting a lineup that features a trio of Australian Opals in Sarah Blicavs, Ezi Magbegor and Zitina Aokuso, plus a number of proven veterans with championship experience, the ultra-talented Supercats will test the Cobras on Saturday, setting the stage for an epic title battle.
“Geelong are going to be super tough and we haven’t seen them since early in the season,” Cobras head coach Sam Woosnam said.
“They have some very talented players on their team and Herbie (coach David Herbert) is a great coach. We are a much better team since the start of the season so I’m really excited for a good week at training and can’t wait for Saturday.”
Family Environment Unites Cobras Ahead Of NBL1 Championship Game
A family environment instilled by Kilsyth Cobras coach Sam Woosnam has helped the club charge into the NBL1 Championship Game this Saturday night against Geelong Supercats.
Kilsyth enters the Championship Game as one of the league’s in-form teams, defeating Bendigo (85-70) and Nunawading (82-59) on their way to Saturday’s decider.
Woosnam is lauded as one of the country’s best young coaches, and her four-year-daughter Myah has been a constant at the club’s games and training sessions. Clare Camac also has a young daughter that is around the Cobras often, with Woosnam explaining how breeding that culture has been a positive for the team.
“We do have a family environment and I’m very encouraging for mothers to play,” Woosnam said.
“I think it’s a great thing that you can come back and play at this level after you have a baby. We are all for that. It makes us more like a family.
“Basically, Clare and my daughter are growing up with these wonderful role models and they really are a part of our team as well.
“When it gets difficult on the court, that cohesion and bond that the girls have really helps on the court as well.”
Under Woosnam’s guidance, Kilsyth has been finals regulars. However, the club hasn’t achieved the ultimate success of a championship since 2008, something Woosnam is determined to fix on Saturday night.
“Nothing would make me happier than getting the championship on the weekend,” she said.
“I love my group of players and I want to get the win for them.”
The Cobras had an indifferent start to the 2019 campaign, before hitting form at the perfect time to charge into the finals full of confidence.
When reflecting on the journey to the Championship Game, Woosnam explained how she never lost faith in her team, despite the 3-4 start to the season.
“We have always had the belief,” Woosnam said.
“We struggled a little bit at the start of the season but at the same time, I was never concerned that it wouldn’t come together because we put together a group of girls where we have great players, we have experience and they’re just really together as a unit, which is what you need to win a championship.
“It was a start that I’ve never experienced as a coach, so obviously I’ve learnt a lot this year as well and grown and I’m really happy with the girls, there were no alarm bells and they had the self-belief in ourselves that we could get it done all season.”
Kilsyth faces a mighty challenge in the Championship Game, facing the uber-talented Geelong Supercats.
Geelong has Australian Opal squad members Ezi Magbegor, Sara Blicavs and Zitina Aokuso on their team, with Woosnam believing the rebounding battle will be vital to the result.
“They’re different to us,” Woosnam said of the Supercats.
“They’re definitely a lot bigger, we have been doing a fantastic job on the boards on both ends of the floor, so I guess we think that’s going to be a key to winning the game is controlling them on the offensive boards.
“Herby (Geelong coach David Herbert) is a great coach, it’s not the first time we have played off in a final against each other and I really enjoy the battles that we have.”
Tip off between Geelong and Kilsyth in the NBL1 Championship Game is scheduled for 5:00pm AEST at State Basketball Centre. Tickets are available from Ticketek and the game will be live streamed on Kayo Sports and the NBL YouTube channel.
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