MARIETTA, Ohio – A last-minute layup by one of the team's senior leaders helped Capital University Women's Basketball force overtime in a road contest against Marietta College in Ban Johnson Arena, Wednesday night. The Crusaders' burst of offense in overtime, led again by its seniors, propelled them to a 67-59 win.
Capital, which entered the game ranked No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll and the D3Hoops.com Poll, started strongly by outscoring the Pioneers 20-8 in the first quarter. However, Marietta slowly chipped away at Capital's lead to set up a third-quarter takeover and a thrilling finish.
After a 30-22 score in favor of Capital was taken into halftime, Marietta took the lead midway through the third quarter after starting the period on a 10-1 run. The Crusaders responded with an 8-2 run, which ended with 40 seconds left in the quarter. This set up a 39-36 Capital lead heading into the final quarter.
In the fourth, the lead changed hands three times and saw four ties. With a 53-53 game on display in the final minute, Capital turned the ball over and Marietta's Amisha Herd promptly hit a jumper to take the lead with 22 second remaining. Out of a timeout, Capital set up a play that led Simonne Gage (Dayton, Ohio) to the bucket, where the senior made a layup with 16 seconds left on the clock. Each team had one last shot attempt before the end of the half, but each came up empty, thus forcing overtime.
Capital hit the first two shots of overtime and three of the first four in the extra session. Nina Napolitano (Akron, Ohio) hit her lone 3-pointer at the 2:20 mark to extend Capital's lead to five points. Each team went scoreless over the next 1:40 before the Crusaders' Jenna Erwin (Springfield, Ohio) was sent to the free throw line. Capital hit 5-of-6 free throws at the end of the game to seal their victory, 67-59.
Capital started the game strong jumping out to an early lead behind nine points from senior Kristen Thompson (Cincinnati, Ohio). The Crusader defense held the Pioneers to just eight points in the first quarter and without a point for the last two minutes of the quarter.
In the second quarter, Marietta went on an 8-2 run cutting down on the Capital lead, bringing it to 22-16. The Pioneers outscored the Crusaders 14-10 the second half.
Thompson finished the evening with 17 points and game-high 14 rebounds, good for her seventh double-double on the season. Colleen Fondessy (Fostoria, Ohio) achieved her first double-double of her career with 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Crusaders had five players finish the game in double-digit points, including four of its five starters.
Marietta was led by Amisha Herd who had a game-high with 23 points. Burkhardt finished the game with 16 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Capital (12-2, 5-2 OAC) will take their current six-game win streak into Saturday's contest against Heidelberg University at The Capital Center on Community Day. All Columbus-area residents will receive free admission and after the game the Crusaders will host a team autograph session on the floor of the Capital Center. A free youth basketball clinic will follow for kids grades 1-8 and last approximately an hour.