TeAroha Keenan admitted a gut-wrenching one-goal defeat to Surrey Storm was Team Northumbria’s toughest loss of the season.
And with two matches to play in 2018 the Kiwi coach conceded her players still can’t close out the games that matter.
TN went down 52-51 in Guildford – all but ending their hopes of the top eight finish.
And Keenan said: “There were some moments of absolute brilliance and composure.
“But my players knew what they needed to do and it’s just not good enough losing a game the way we did.
“We started all four quarters poorly but still put ourselves in a position to win at Surrey and move up to eighth.
“Then we missed the last goal of the game when we had a chance to take the Storm to extra-time.
“It was tough to take. I’m extremely disappointed.”
TN allowed Storm to surge into a 6-1 lead and were forced to play catch-up for the remainder of the second half.
But the visitors chipped away at Surrey’s lead and won the third period 14-9 to lay the platform for a nailbiting finale.
Another slow start allowed the hosts to extend their lead in the fourth quarter but Tamsin Moala had the last shot of regulation time knowing a goal would tie the clash.
The New Zealander missed but Keenan added: “Once again the defeat was down to too many errors throughout the match.
“We gave the ball away too many times and paid the price. Storm scored the first five goals of the last quarter and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb.
“The result was so important for both teams. Had we won it would have affected Surrey’s position and ours – another three points for us would have piled the pressure on Sirens.”
TN were without the injured Emily Hollingworth and Northern Ireland international shooter Lisa Bowman for the Surrey clash.
The former is still struggling with a knee injury but the latter is expected to return in time for Saturday’s trip to Severn Stars.