The Canberra Capitals slumped to a fifth straight loss after falling against Townsville Fire 83-68 to leave their finals hopes hanging by a thread on Friday.
It has been a horror week for the Capitals after losing three games in six days, including two at home, as their season begins to derail after a promising start.
The Capitals have won just two of their seven fixtures this season and in a 21-game schedule must win nine of their remaining 14 games to play finals.
After winning their opening two games of the season, Canberra have lost four of their past five to sit sixth on the ladder, but the two teams below them each have two games in hand.
Coach Paul Gorris called on his players to show more urgency in defence during the week, but it was another poor showing against Townsville.
"When you get to practice once to prepare for two games it's difficult but I thought the girls put up a hell of a fight," Gorris said.
"We don't want to make excuses but I think in the fourth quarter fatigue started to be a factor after three games in six days."
The Capitals attack at its scintillating best is near unstoppable but their defence leaves plenty to be desired, however Gorris said they will stick to their guns.
"As the game wore on we turned the ball over too much and as soon as they got momentum with fresh legs it didn't help our defensive transition," Gorris said.
"For us we stay with the process. We're not going to reinvent the wheel, we're not going to throw out the playbook, we're not going to overreact.
"We won our first games and we've hit a hump now but the girls and I have spoken and we'll bounce back, there is trust and belief in this group."
Townsville superstar Suzy Batkovic dominated from the opening whistle to finish with 27 points and 11 rebounds in a performance which earned praise from coach Claudia Brassard
"There's a lot of pressure on her to do well for us and perform really well and she did that again," Brassard said.
"She didn't force things and let the game come to her, we did a good job finding her and she's the type of player that can dominate games she did that today."
Brassard said the Capitals are a quality team but added they were always going to struggle to run out their third game of the week.
"We knew they would come out aggressive, they'd lost four in a row and it's almost their season on the line, so we knew they'd come out strong and they did," she said.
"They're a very good team and have scorers everywhere but it was always going to be hard for them to match our running in that second half purely because of the scheduling they've had."
The Capitals were on top early with skipper Nat Hurst controlling proceedings to lead 29-24 at quarter-time but Batkovic was making her presence felt inside the paint.
Canberra maintained their intensity in the second term as Abbey Wehrung started to heat up but Batkovic had 14 points by half-time as the visitors trailed 48-43.
Townsville jumped out of the blocks in the second half and thanks to 16-4 scoring run they raced to a 59-52 lead which they would not relinquish.
In a disastrous final quarter the Capitals shot 2-24 field goals and Batkovic ensured Townsville ran away with the 15-point win.