Canberra Capitals coach Carrie Graf with her team (from left) Carly Mijovic, Abby Bishop, Isabelle Strunc, Alice Coddington, Tara Hey, Nat Hurst, Nicole Hunt, Jess Bibby, Sarah McAppion, Carly Wilson and Alex Bunton. Photo: Karleen Minney
In 325 WNBL games over 17 seasons, Canberra Capitals skipper Jess Bibby rates last year's ''distressing'' 46-point thrashing by Sydney as the low point of her career.
And she believes it was the rock-bottom moment that has helped the club rediscover the ruthless culture which won it seven championships.
A brutally honest Bibby said the team leaders questioned some players' attitude and whether they were putting personal goals ahead of the team in the wake of December's 96-50 rout to their arch rivals.
Some players broke down in the sheds after the second-biggest loss in club history, but it proved the catalyst for change.
The Capitals have undergone a massive player overhaul, and Bibby says the team-first ethos of hard work, honesty and discipline has returned.
After making the finals for 12 straight seasons, the Capitals have missed the play-offs in the past two campaigns and won just six games last season.
The Sydney loss was the second-biggest in Capitals history and the moment when some home truths were told.
Burying those demons and proving they're back as a force is huge motivation when they host the Flames in the season opener at AIS Arena on Saturday afternoon.
''It was probably the low point of my career,'' Bibby said.
''I know Graffy [coach Carrie Graf] took it quite personally and quite a few of us were emotional because it was quite distressing to see a result like that.
''We beat Sydney in the first game of last season and to go from that and lose by 50, there's something that's not right and to the club's credit changes have been made.''
The Capitals have off-loaded around half their squad from last season and replaced them with quality in club legends Abby Bishop and Nat Hurst, and French recruit Isabelle Strunc.
Bibby noticed the team was slipping after the 2011-12 season.
''The last two years have been disappointing. After the first year I raised some concerns about the personnel we had,'' she said.
''Nothing against people, but their idea of what they wanted to do with their basketball and what their goals were, didn't match what we expect here at the Capitals.
''The work ethic of the girls I don't think was in question, I think the attitude and goals of certain people in the group weren't where they needed to be.''
Bibby, Carly Wilson and Alice Coddington are the only Capitals suiting up on Saturday who played in the Sydney loss.
''I mentioned that game in our team meeting,'' Bibby said. ''It's a different group with a different feel, but we're looking to make a statement to show people we're back to the Capitals of old.
''It's nice the first game's on TV, it's a chance to stamp to the league we're back as a force and to erase those memories of Sydney last year.''
WNBL round one: Canberra Capitals v Sydney Flames at AIS Arena, 3pm. TV: Live on ABC 1. Tickets available from Ticketek.