Mikaela Ruef is adamant her latest stint at the Capitals has not been "wasted" as she prepares to leave Canberra on Wednesday for an overseas offer.
Ruef will leave with the Capitals' blessing to take up a contract in France having been deemed ineligible for the WNBL finals.
But her departure will be offset by the return of co-captain Kelsey Griffin on limited minutes for this weekend's double-header against the league's top two teams.
Griffin will play up to 20 minutes against the Melbourne Boomers at the National Convention Centre on Friday night, before being assessed again for a road trip to face the Southside Flyers in Dandenong.
However the loss of Ruef still shapes as a cruel blow for the club as the Capitals brace for the road to the finals.
The United States import has spent the entire season on the sidelines waiting for her permanent residency application to be processed by immigration officials.
Ruef has been unable to play as an import with Canadian Kia Nurse and French point guard Olivia Epoupa filling the Capitals' two import slots.
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The papers could clear on the day she flies out of the country but it would matter little given Ruef needs to play seven games to be eligible for the playoffs.
"There's no opportunity for me to play here at this point and I want to play," Ruef said.
"It's a good opportunity, it's a good league over in Europe and I like France, so I've been wanting to go back there.
"I enjoyed my time here even though I wasn't able to play. I'm sad to leave, I'm excited to play but I'm not looking back like 'I wasted a year' because I really enjoyed everything about it.
"That's the plan. I wanted to play WNBL this year, it didn't work out. I'm getting a bridging visa so I can leave the country and have it not affect my permanent residency.
"Hopefully the residency will come when it comes. It shouldn't take any longer than a year, that's what I've heard back.
"I do want to play WNBL. I love Australia, I love being here, I want to stay here permanently."
Capitals coach Paul Goriss has lauded Ruef's commitment throughout the past four months having turned up for every practice session despite the uncertainty hovering over her future.
Goriss is keen to re-sign Ruef for the 2020-21 season in the hope her citizenship application will be cleared and she can link up with the club as a local player.
"Once we got down to two or three weeks ago and knew seven games was the cutoff to make finals, we knew it would be tough for her to get that paperwork through," Goriss said.
"She's a great person to have around the club, she always brings energy, a smile to the group, and plays hard.
"I think any team would want that. Hopefully we'll have those discussions with her over the next couple of weeks and over the off-season about trying to get her back here under that permanent residency.
"She's been a total pro about it, she's been great. Turned up for every practice, been great, brought energy.
"That was the whole reason we brought her in here. We knew she was a great player and could help us.
"Unfortunately for us and for her she hasn't been able to play, because I think she really could have helped us this season."
Ruef's departure is another blow for the Capitals as they look to pick up the pieces following consecutive defeats at the hands of the league's bottom-placed sides.
Her absence throughout the season has been compounded by the fact rising star Kristy Wallace has been sidelined for the entire campaign in her comeback from an anterior cruciate ligament tear.