The Canberra Capitals have suffered one of the biggest losses in club history days out from the WNBL finals to see their hopes of home court advantage go down in flames.
The Capitals have slipped from first to third after a forgettable final round capped off by a 107-52 shellacking from the Melbourne Boomers at the Melbourne Sports Centre on Saturday night.
For some time it seemed Canberra's record loss of 67 points set in 1999 might be in jeopardy. The Capitals were simply dominated at both ends of the floor.
The final make-up of the top four will be decided on the final day of the regular season when competition front-runners Perth close out their campaign against Townsville on Sunday.
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The Adelaide Lightning are the other side in the finals mix, with the highest-ranked teams to host two semi-final matches in the best-of-three series from March 23.
The Capitals faced an anxious wait to see who they would be playing in the semi-finals following a nightmare loss to Melbourne, which came two days after a 31-point thrashing at the hands of Adelaide.
Already struggling with a hectic travel toll, Canberra now has to find a way to pick up the pieces in a matter of days before it hits the road again for game one of the semi-finals.
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"Our record has been not too bad on the road this year. My only concern is the amount of travel we have had to do over the past couple of weeks," Capitals coach Paul Goriss said.
"The things that have been thrown at this squad throughout the year, they've been resilient, they've taken punches and they've come back out swinging again.
"With the leadership we've got, with the veteran presence we've got from Kelsey [Griffin], to Kelly [Wilson], to Britt Sykes, to Bunts [Alex Bunton] to B-Smart [Britt Smart], we've got some older heads to help steer the ship."
The Capitals shot at just 33 per cent from the field. They were beaten in the rebound count to the tune of 46 to 24. They managed just eight assists to Melbourne's 21.
But now Boomers coach Guy Molloy is bracing for a Capitals backlash.
"We were hot. The Caps were a little cold. It was not a normal Capitals-Boomers game, they're normally knock them down and drag them out affairs," Molloy said on Kayo's post-game coverage.
"We got on top of them early and it stayed that way so pretty proud of the group, but fully expecting that should we run into Caps again in this finals, then they'll come back pretty darn hard."
AT A GLANCE
WNBL round 15: MELBOURNE BOOMERS 107 (Cayla George 23, Tess Madgen 19, Ezi Magbegor 19) bt CANBERRA CAPITALS 52 (Britt Sykes 14, Kelsey Griffin 11, Jade Melbourne 9) at Melbourne Sports Centre.
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