The Silver Ferns have squandered a six-goal three-quarter-time advantage to lose 64-57 in extra time to England in Sunday's netball Quad Series opener (NZT) in London.
Ahead 43-37 with a quarter remaining, the Ferns froze under pressure.
Where they had played solid netball in the first and third quarters, they seized up with everything on the line, turning over the ball six times.
They were eventually pegged back to finish regular time at 49-49 - and could've lost sooner, had Kadeen Corbin nailed a last-second long bomb.
Instead, their malaise continued into the two seven-minute halves of extra time, turning over the ball another four times and falling meekly.
It's the second time the Ferns have lost to England in the past 12 months, and a major wake-up call ahead of April's Commonwealth Games tilt.
The Ferns midcourt - with Samantha Sinclair at centre, rather than Shannon Francois - simply couldn't move the ball forward to Bailey Mes and Maria Folau.
And their English counterparts punished them ruthlessly, with centre Serena Guthrie terrorising the Silver Ferns across all three thirds.
She assisted seven goals, fed the ball to forwards Corbin and Helen Housby 19 times and racked up three interceptions and four turnovers.
Corbin provided a muscular presence up front, bagging 28 goals and providing space for the more gangly Housby to score 36 from 42 attempts.
Folau netted a precise 35 from 38, aided by 22 goals from Mes - yet coach Janine Southby never called upon the guile of reserve Te Paea Selby-Rickit.
Southby's English counterpart, Tracey Neville, was ecstatic.
"It's pure heart and soul and process," Neville said.
"I was so proud with the way the girls finished that game - we're Roses that go to infinity, and that's what they've got to believe."
The match was part of a double-header, with Australia's Diamonds defeating South Africa 54-50 earlier.
The Diamonds were helped by great shooting performances from Caitlin Thwaites and Gretel Tippett, neither of whom missed a goal in the first quarter.
The Ferns will now head to South Africa for Friday's clash with the Proteas in Johannesburg (NZT), followed by a match-up with Australia.