Roy Ward on the Kilsyth Cobras, plus this week’s big plays and the media wrap up.
Kilsyth Cobras coach Sam Woosnam knows her side will need time to come together after adding four new players in the off-season.
So she was more than pleased when her fledgling group scored comfortable wins over Sandringham Sabres and Frankston Blues this past weekend.
The wins, both against conference rivals, could prove invaluable as the season runs its course and those results also show that her team is picking up their defensive and offensive rules a little ahead of schedule.
“I thought we would take a little longer to gel – the girls made some big improvements this weekend,” Woosnam said on Monday.
“A lot of that improvement came defensively – I drive them to play defence and be on the same page in that area because I want us to get stops and then play fast and in transition.
“On the defensive end we really clicked, we changed up what we were doing a lot so our opponents had to keep concentrating on what they were doing.
“The Sandringham win was especially good because we won when Sarah Parsons, who is our captain and the heart and soul of our team, wasn’t playing.”
The Cobras added some top-end talent in the offseason with two-time WNBL title winner Steph Cumming signing on along with import post player Cassandra Sant and speedy guard Chantella Perera.
Woosnam will happily take the two wins but won’t let her side get too carried away, especially as both Sandringham and Frankston are sure to make major strides in the weeks to come as they integrate their WNBL signings into their teams.
“Sandringham is going to definitely improve, Alice Kunek came in later than everyone else so you know they will get better and we know Frankston will improve too,” Woosnam said.
“I’m definitely not getting carried away with where we are at.”
Cumming is already averaging 18 points per game for her first three appearances and will only become more effective as she adapts to her new teammates while Sant has also impressed her new coach with double-doubles in both matches this weekend.
“I played in the WNBL with Steph and was happy to get her this year,” Woosnam said.
“Steph has never played with these girls before and I’ve never coached her before – she has been great but I know she will be even better.
“Sant plays at centre but we don’t make her stay in the paint, she can take taller players outside and we even run her off some screens because she has a nice jump shot.
“I’m really happy with her at this stage and I had thought she would take longer to adjust to our team.”
Woosnam added WNBL player Rosie Moult, who missed the recent WNBL season due to an ankle reconstruction, was coming along well but would only get better with more game time.
Woosnam is also due to give birth in the next few weeks so may miss a couple of games but she doesn’t plan on missing much of the action.
“My assistant coaches Dave Newton and Emily van Poppel will coach when I’m not there,” Woosnam said.
“We haven’t made set time for how long I’ll be off, we will just play it as it goes but I don’t expect to miss many games.”
After a long WNBL career and some coaching experience with West Adelaide in South Australia’s ABA competition, Woosnam is enjoying her second season in charge of the Cobras and wants to ease the path for more of the club’s junior players to move into the SEABL team.
With this in mind she is also working in the Cobras’ junior program overseeing the club’s under-16 and above girls’ sides.
“I want to get more home grown players through to playing for the club at this level,” Woosnam said.
*New Hobart Lady Chargers import Amy Kame made a splash in her WNBL debut with 33 points and 12 rebounds in all 40 minutes of her club’s win over Geelong on Friday night.
*Nunawading Spectres’ WNBL star Rebecca Cole showed training with the Opals had given her the ideal start to the SEABL season scoring 37 points in 36 minutes as her side just beat our Albury-Wodonga.
*Geelong star Sara Blicavs led the way for her club in Tasmania with 22 points, 14 rebounds against Launceston and 15 points, 10 rebounds against Hobart.
*Launceston’s point guard Lauren Mansfield reminded everyone of her scoring exploits with 24 points and seven rebounds against Geelong.
*Kilsyth duo Cassandra Sant (19 points, 11 rebounds v Sandringham and 21 and 12 against Frankston) and Steph Cumming (22 points v Sandy, 15 v Frankston) both powered the Cobras’ winning double on the weekend.
*Dandenong Rangers’ guard Amelia Todhunter scorched Canberra Capitals Academy on Saturday night with 28 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and four steals.
*Capitals guard Steph Talbot did give the Rangers some resistance with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
*Brisbane duo Odette Andrew (28 points) and Sarah Graham (24 points) sparked their club to a win over Ballarat.
*Bendigo’s Kerryn Harrington continued her strong start to the new season with 22 points against Albury-Wodonga while Steph Bairstow was again in the thick of things with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
SEABL media links
Want more info on the women’s competition? Here’s a handy guide…
*Border Mail’s Steve Smith (@stevesmithffx) reports on Bendigo Lady Braves win over Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits with pictures from Dylan Robinson. Report: http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/3019837/lady-braves-give-bandits-a-belting/?cs=10#slide=1
*Smith also reports the Lady Bandits are making big strides off the court. Report: http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/3021786/albury-wodonga-lady-bandits-give-a-glimpse-of-better-to-come/?cs=10
*Geelong Advertiser’s Wes Cusworth (@WesCusworth) writes Sara Blicavs starred for the Lady Supercats during their trip to Tasmania. Report: http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/sport/local-sport/seabl-lady-supercats-bounce-back-on-the-road/story-fnjuhs0b-1227310732476
*Leader Newspapers’ Megan Hustwaite (@MeganHustwaite) reports on Rebecca Cole’s 37-point game for Nunawading. Report: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/east/bec-cole-shines-in-nunawadings-first-seabl-win-but-the-spectres-have-plenty-of-work-to-do/story-fngnvmqa-1227310451425
*Ballarat Courier’s Melanie Whelan (@Melanie_Whelan) reports the Ballarat Rush need to overcome their youthful makeup after their loss to Brisbane. Report: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3021556/seabl-stars-give-raw-rush-a-lesson/?cs=63
*Whelan also offered this overview of the Australian under-18 national championships in Ballarat last week along with a gallery of action pictures. Report: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3021626/future-basketball-stars-on-show/?cs=63
– Roy Ward (@rpjward) is a freelance sports writer who has covered the NBA, NBL, WNBL, SEABL and Big V during his career. He will be filing weekly columns on the SEABL men’s and women’s competitions this season. For feedback or suggestions send Roy a tweet or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org