Capitals slump to seventh loss as travel takes a toll

Canberra captain Natalie Hurst admits a gruelling WNBL schedule is taking its toll as the Capitals fight to save their season.

The Capitals slumped to a seventh consecutive loss in an 81-72 defeat to defending champions Sydney Flames at the National Convention Centre on Saturday.

A blistering start to the season had Canberra fans hoping they would snap a six-year finals drought but they've lost every game since.

The Capitals are beginning to lose a grip on their finals hopes in the midst of a hectic condensed campaign but Hurst says the group remains united in its bid to turn things around.

Canberra played three games in seven days last week and two games in less than two days this week - a hectic schedule that revives questions about player payments.

But Hurst (13 points, eight assists) says everyone knew what they were getting into this season and they need to find a way to overcome any mental hurdles.

"You can't just snap your fingers and everything works," Hurst said.

"Obviously it was an improvement on the other night against Sydney but to fall away again in the last quarter, it's not easy to swallow.

"With all the hard work we have put in, it makes it even harder. We'll keep chipping away and we'll keep with our process.

"There's a lot of belief, there's a lot of trust, and the group is together. We take losses hard but there's no fractures within the group. With travel, with recovery, with practice, there's always great energy. We'll continue that."

Capitals forward Rachel Jarry was ejected in the final minute following an unsportsmanlike foul on Sydney star Asia Taylor.

Taylor says says "unnecessary plays" led to her falling awkwardly on her arm in the final minute to bring her stellar 29-point outing to a premature end with a shoulder injury.

But Taylor believes she will be fine to return to the court next week in welcome news for Flames coach Cheryl Chambers.

Canberra matched the physicality of the visitors for three quarters and trailed by one point leading into the final term.

But a lack of execution and inconsistency when the game was in the balance cruelled Canberra's hopes of a return to the winners circle.

Capitals coach Paul Goriss is adamant things are moving in the right direction but says his side needs to learn how to put together a four quarter performance.

"There's no going back to the drawing board, throwing out the playbook or not doing [what we have been]," Goriss said.

"Once again we're a team of three quarters and we've just got to string that consistency together over four quarters. [If] we can do that, we can really make some noise in the league.

"We get shots that we don't need and that we don't want, and we take early ones. Defensively at the same time, it just breaks down together."

The Capitals will have to win at least nine of their remaining 12 games to clinch a playoff berth.


WNBL: SYDNEY FLAMES 81 (Asia Taylor 29, Belinda Snell 14, Katie Ebzery 11) bt CANBERRA CAPITALS 72 (Natalie Hurst 13, Jordan Hooper 12, Rachel Jarry 11) at National Convention Centre.

This story Capitals slump to seventh loss as travel takes a toll first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.