The NBL1 Cobra Women have split their Round 6 doubleheader weekend, blowing out the Diamond Valley Eagles on Saturday night before falling at home to the Launceston Tornadoes.
Boosted by the debut of Lauren Nicholson, the Cobras recorded a monster road win over Diamond Valley on Saturday, destroying the Eagles, 104-52 – their biggest winning margin of the 2021 season. With Nicholson and Lauren Scherf on fire early on, the Cobras raced out to an insurmountable 30 point halftime lead, with the duo combining to outscore the Eagles, 31-30 over the opening 20 minutes of play.
The Cobras would keep their foot on the gas in the second half, reaching the 100-point mark for the second time in three games to record their fourth win of the season. Nicholson led the Cobras with a trademark all-around performance in her debut, recording game-highs of 24 points and six assists to go along with nine rebounds, while Scherf recorded an 18-point, 13-rebound double-double in the win. Carly Turner (12 points, seven rebounds, three assists), Nikita Young (12 points) and Abi Curtin (10 points, six rebounds, six assists, four steals) also scored in double figures, with all ten Cobras recording a score on Saturday – much to the delight of head coach, Hannah Lowe.
“The win against Diamond Valley was convincing score line wise, but the team effort is what I was most happy with,” Lowe said.
While the Cobras were at their explosive best on Saturday, their offence went cold at home on Sunday, recording a season-low 60 points en-route to a 60-87 loss to Launceston.
Facing a loaded Tornadoes team, the Cobras struggled to get going offensively, falling behind in the first quarter and playing catch-up the rest of the way. In what was a mirror image of their Round 5 loss to Nunawading, the Cobras shot under 31 percent from the field and just 6-for-22 from deep, and struggled to contain the Tornadoes dominant frontcourt duo of Keely Froling and Kelsey Griffin.
Froling – the clear frontrunner for league MVP – and Scherf were set to fly to Austria on Saturday night for the Olympic 3×3 Qualifying Tournament, but an administrative error saw their flights rescheduled for Sunday night, making the pair available for Sunday’s game. And Froling made the most of the opportunity, combining with Griffin on the interior to record 49 points and 29 rebounds on Sunday to lead the #2 ranked Tornadoes to victory. With the Cobras facing uncertainty around Scherf’s status for Sunday whilst working Nicholson into the team on an incredibly tight timeline, Lowe expected Sunday to be a challenge for her young team from the get-go.
“It was a bumpy weekend for the team as Lauren Scherf have some unexpected delays with her 3×3 commitments, and we welcomed the arrival of Lauren Nicholson,” Lowe said.
“Sunday against Launceston was always going to be tough. They’re a fairly balanced team lead by two high IQ WNBL players.”
Nicholson (18 points, four rebounds, five assists, three steals) and Turner (10 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals) were solid on the perimeter for the Cobras on Sunday, while Scherf (13 points, 11 rebounds, three assists) battled inside to record her seventh consecutive double-double to start the season. The loss dropped the Cobras record to 4-3on the season, placing them just outside the top-eight in the league standings. They face another challenging doubleheader test this weekend, hitting the road to take on the undefeated Frankston Blues on Saturday, before returning home to battle the 4-2 Ringwood Hawks on Sunday.
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