Defeated coach Paul Goriss has revealed the full extent of the Capitals' injury woes, following Wednesday night's elimination semi-final loss to Melbourne that ended their quest for a historic hat-trick of WNBL championships.
Co-captains Marianna Tolo Kelsey Griffin never recovered from preseason injuries, while Tahlia Tupaea constantly defied doctor's orders to play and Maddison Rocci wasn't fully fit throughout.
Tolo carried a toe injury into the season, which flared up in the past few games as the Capitals blew a 7-1 start to miss a top-two finish.
Griffin battled a back problem and was on managed minutes throughout the truncated season in north Queensland, while Rocci had to nurse a shoulder injury.
Tupaea also played through persistent shoulder pain, and was heavily strapped in every game she played over the past five weeks.
"We are never one to make excuses but that in the background doesn't help when you've got to play in a one off final game when you're carrying those niggling injuries, [and] that people haven't been on the court practicing because of those," Goriss said.
"That's a character trait of our group, the toughness and how hard we've played. That's been nice in the last 48 hours or so, people reaching out and saying how great we played, how tough we were, our ability to hang tough and make comebacks.
"Part of it was trying to build chemistry in a short season and we never really got to that, there was never a point where we had 12 people 100 per cent fully fit at any given time.
"Hence, changing some of the starting line ups, having a look at different combinations just didn't allow us to get any real chemistry or cohesion going.
"We'd get people back in, someone would get a niggling injury and have to sit out a bit or be on limited minutes so we were all chasing our tail. That in the short season we had was always going to be dangerous for us come finals time when we needed to be playing our best basketball."
The Melbourne Boomers took full advantage of Goriss' banged up charges on Wednesday, storming out of the blocks to a 32-20 first-quarter lead which they never surrendered.
A second-period rally helped the Capitals reduce the margin to just three points shortly after half-time, but the comeback ultimately ran out of steam.
It meant an abrupt end to the Capitals' double championship defence - there was no second chance given their inconsistent late-season form which cost them a top-two finish.
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"We had a great buffer when we were seven and one to stay in that top two position, that was purely on us that we didn't get the job done," Goriss said.
"You just wake up with a sick feeling in your stomach. It's just a little bit of the gut going crazy, just every different emotion.
"You've got to not react - as much of our goal is to win it, you're not going to get that every season.
"Championships are hard to come by and hard to win you've got to have some luck, and we just didn't have some luck I don't think luck was on our side right from preseason through until the end.
"I'm mindful of sitting [down] and being critical and doing our evaluations and really sitting back, having a look at what we need, and what areas, what skillsets, what kind of players we need to improve and critically look at that, rather than have a knee-jerk reaction to us still making a top four which is still hard enough in this day and age to get to."