Cosier's spark ignites Caps, but can't be measured with stats

NO ENGINE can work without a fully-functioning spark plug.

And it's no coincidence that Michelle Cosier's return from injury has coincided with the Canberra Capitals machine finally roaring to life.

The guard's tenacity helped ignite a remarkable season-saving comeback win over Sydney at AIS Arena on Friday night.

Cosier is an impact player, which some WNBL officials found out literally when she crashed headfirst over their desk chasing a loose ball.

Her courage prompted Canberra forward Hannah Bowley to exclaim ''Man she's awesome'' to a teammate beside her on the bench.

The Capitals sorely missed her tenacity in an uncharacteristic 1-7 start to the season.

However, now 7-9 after three straight wins and a favourable run home, Canberra has its sights set on a finals charge.

Cosier's numbers in four games since returning from osteitis pubis (6.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, eight assists per game) aren't outstanding on paper.

But it's her 'one percenters', the dirty work not recorded by statisticians, that is so crucial to Canberra's success.

It's hard for her teammates not to be inspired when she charges after a stray ball with little regard for her own safety.

''We've lacked her grit. She has no fear, she gets the crowd engaged through her effort, that's why we got her here [from former club Sydney],'' Canberra coach Carrie Graf said.

''As we saw today [Friday], she's an impact player who makes things happen.

''It's easy for some people to say 'the Caps are struggling', but take a starting five player out of any team in the league, a 30-year-old, it makes it harder.''

Graf said she had no doubt Cosier would emerge unscathed after her tangle with the scorer's.

''No [I wasn't concerned], she does 20 of those every practice,'' she said.

''Anyone else would break their neck or pop their back, but she should be in a circus act. I think our stats guy nearly had a heart attack.''

Cosier credited Canberra's defence for helping turn a 16-point third quarter deficit into a 72-66 win over the Flames. The Capitals outscored Sydney 26-4 from late in the third term in a remarkable fightback.

''It's probably up there [as one of the best wins]. I played for Sydney and it's always good to beat your old team,'' Cosier said.

''I missed some easy shots but that'll come back, I just have to slow down my shots. If I can't get my shots in I just have to play defence and look after those loose balls.''