The Canberra Capitals' quest for a third-straight WNBL championship is over after succumbing to a 10-point defeat against the Melbourne Boomers on Wednesday.
A defensive masterclass from the Boomers consistently shut out the Capitals, the Victorians producing a whopping 13 blocks to one to end the reigning champions' season and collect some revenge after they were knocked out of the finals by Canberra last season.
Canberra fought valiantly in a bruising final quarter but the Boomers held their nerve from the free-throw line and iced a 78-68 win.
It marks an end to a wildly fluctuating five weeks for Paul Goriss' Capitals in north Queensland. Their best in this COVID-modified season was better than anyone in the league, but they also produced several performances not synonymous with the star team Goriss has developed.
Former Capital Eziyoda Magbegor was unstoppable at times on Wednesday, finishing with 20 powerful points and generating four blocks herself.
"It was a big game for us. We knew we had to come out and start well," Magbegor told Fox Sports after the match.
"We just stuck it out for four quarters and got the win."
Madeleine Garrick and Izzy Wright also notched double figures with precision shooting while the Capitals shot at just 34 per cent from the field.
There were positives this season for Goriss despite the early exit, notably the emergence of young gun Jade Melbourne who didn't even have a WNBL contract two months ago.
She finished with five personal fouls and 10 points in a typically dogged performance from the bench on Wednesday, and shapes as a huge part of the club's future.
MORE CAPITALS NEWS
But Goriss was left to rue a sluggish opening quarter from which the Capitals never quite recovered.
They trailed by 12 points at the first break and up to 16 early in the second period. It wasn't unfamiliar territory for the Capitals - they trailed by 16 points last season in the decider against Southside Flyers and found a way back.
And history threatened to repeat itself as the Capitals surged in the second quarter with a 12-0 run.
The margin was almost cut back to three but another superb Rocci basket was ruled out by the officials with less than a minute left on the first-half clock.
Rocci had sprinted away from the clutches of Tess Madgen and Stella Beck, and appeared to be fouled by the latter in the process of laying the ball into the basket but a review deemed the foul was committed while she was still dribbling.
Melbourne steadied after the break and expertly saw out the win.
"The games are really physical and both clubs have prided themselves on their defence for a number of seasons," Boomers coach Guy Molloy said.
"I know there will be a lot of sore bodies tonight.
"After we got the lead, luckily for us we were able to keep a bit of momentum.
"We're just really happy to be alive and continuing to play."