A finals berth seems a world away for the Canberra Capitals after they slumped to a sixth consecutive loss.
The Capitals are locked in a battle to resurrect their WNBL season after they fell 81-62 to the Sydney Flames in Sydney on Thursday night.
The Capitals have won just two games this season ??? both in round one ??? and must win at least nine of their remaining 13 games to clinch a playoff berth.
Canberra was left to rue a slow start as it scored just nine points in the opening quarter ??? something it couldn't afford against the defending champions.
Capitals forward Jordan Hooper made a huge impact off the bench as she racked up 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Hooper and Mistie Bass (15 points) were locked in a battle with near unstoppable Sydney star Belinda Snell (16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists).
But the efforts of Canberra's United States imports came to no avail as Sydney pulled away late in the contest to lock themselves inside the top two, and leave the Capitals reeling in seventh.
The Capitals don't have to wait long for their shot at redemption as they prepare to face the same opposition at the National Convention Centre on Saturday.
It looms as a crucial opportunity to rediscover their rhythm as they look to snap a six-year finals drought.
SYDNEY FLAMES 81 (A Taylor 18, B Snell 16, J Hamson 10) bt CANBERRA CAPITALS 62 (M Bass 15, J Hooper 14, A Wehrung 12).
WNBL ROUND FIVE
Saturday: Capitals v Sydney Flames at National Convention Centre, 3pm