By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
NEW CONCORD, Ohio – Trailing by two entering the fourth quarter and coming off of some close losses, Capital University Women's Basketball needed a strong fourth quarter to get over the hump against a Muskingum University Fighting Muskies team they could not crack for the first 30 minutes of the game. That strong fourth quarter is exactly what the Crusaders got though and are bringing home a 61-53 win.
The Fighting Muskies connected with the first shot of the fourth to extend their lead to four but back-to-back layups from Erin Risner (Canfield, Ohio / Canfield) and Annika Wachtman (Upper Arlington, Ohio / Upper Arlington) knotted the score at 41. After a Muskingum three that gave the Muskies the lead again, five points in a row put the Crusaders on top 46-44.
The Muskies wrestled the lead back after Alivia Bates drained a three-pointer that put Muskingum up 47-46 but on Capital's ensuing possession, Risner connected on a jump shot that sparked a 15-6 Capital run that ended the game. Risner scored 11 of Capital's 24 points in the final quarter and assisted on shots that resulted in seven points. Risner led Capital with 21 points in the contest, 15 of which came in the second half, on 9-of-13 shooting from the floor.
The first half was a back-and forth affair, with 10 lead changes and three ties.
The Crusaders dominated the boards with seven offensive rebounds and had seven steal but they were not able to effectively capitalize on the extra chances. As a team, Capital shot only 37 percent from the field and were 2-of-9 from deep. The Muskies closed the first half shooting 47.8 percent and were 5-of-11 from beyond the arc.
The Muskies had a seven-point lead early in the third but the Crusaders were able to battle back to take a short-lived two-point lead of their own. Muskingum regained the lead with three and a half minutes left in the period and held that lead until Capital's fourth-quarter surge.
As Capital's offense came alive, its defense clamped down as well. The Crusaders held the Muskies to 9-of-28 shooting in the second half, only 32.1 percent. The Muskies hit six more shots from beyond the arc than Capital did, but the Crusaders went to the free throw line 16 more times than Muskingum, 22-6, and made 14 from the charity stripe compared to Muskingum's four.
Capital also dominated the glass with a 39-26 rebounding lead and the Crusaders reeled in 13 offensive boards.
Elli Wachtman (Upper Arlington, Ohio / Upper Arlington) provided a spark off of the Capital bench with nine points and six boards and Regan Stonerock (Circleville, Ohio / Westfall) pulled down 16 rebounds to go with her eight points. Alivia Carson led Muskingum with 20 points.
Capital (9-9, 5-6 Ohio Athletic Conference) will return to the Cap Center on Saturday, Jan. 27 to host Ohio Northern University. Tip off for that contest is scheduled for 3 p.m.