???Embrace the anger. That's WNBA veteran Mistie Bass' message to her Canberra Capitals teammates as they search for ways to break the shackles of a horror start to the WNBL season.
The Capitals are in danger of slumping to a seventh consecutive loss when they play the defending champion Sydney Flames at the National Convention Centre on Saturday.
It's unfamiliar territory for Bass, who spent a decade in the world's best league in the United States and won a WNBA championship with the Phoenix Mercury.
The Capitals haven't made the finals since 2011 and have thrown together a new group of players in the hope of ending their play-off drought.
They won their first two games of the season, but have lost every game since and are fighting to stay in finals contention.
"I had a talk with one of my teammates yesterday and I refuse to believe that we are six games in the hole and it's [because of] potential," Bass said.
"There's too much talent on this team and we can turn this around quickly. It's when you're in the lull, you can have a tendency to sulk.
"You can allow that feeling to overcome you. And if you do, it overcomes the team and the losses start to rack up.
"It's just about making sure you feel [the losses] and having the willingness to fight it. That's what our team has to decide, whether we're willing to fight it and not just say we're going to lose.
"I will never be like that, I was never taught that, I was never coached to be like that. Every game I'm going to give 110 per cent ... I just hope everybody feels the same.
"We need more, we still ned more fight, more anger and using that anger on the court to win these games."
The Capitals scored just nine points in the first quarter of a loss to the Flames on Thursday night. They failed to recover after the first break and lost 81-62.
Bass top-scored with 15 points while fellow US import Jordan Hooper finished with 14 and Abbey Wehrung scored 12.
But the Capitals couldn't contain Asia Taylor and Belinda Snell, who finished with a combined 34 points.
They will have to find a way to stop the star duo if they want to get revenge as they prepare to play the Flames for a second time in less than two days.
"Losing six in a row isn't ideal. It doesn't feel good and you can't make me like losing," Bass said.
"I think we'll use that energy to fuel a more positive outcome in the next game [against Sydney].
"Sometimes we have mental breakdowns and then defensive breakdowns because of that. The next thing you know it's a 15-20 point margin.
"If we make a mistake, we have to be able [recover] before the game slides away."
Capitals coach Paul Goriss and his players re-lived the frustration of Thursday night's loss in a video session on Friday.
"We couldn't make a shot in the first quarter ... then we just ran out of legs in the fourth quarter," Goriss said.
The Capitals have had a gruelling start to the WNBL season as part of a revamped and condensed competition.
They played three games in seven days last week and two games in less than two days this week.
"Everyone is in the same boat this year because everyone has tough road trips," Goriss said.
"It's not ideal backing up on road trips and having games in short succession for player welfare or the quality of the performance. But there are no excuses."