By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – As the battle for the highest possible seed in the upcoming conference tournament nears an end, two teams with no love lost between them gathered at The Capital Center on Wednesday night. Caroline Taphorn set a new career high in points scored and helped fuel one of two big runs that helped fuel Capital Women's Basketball to a 73-61 win over the Wilmington College Fightin' Quakers.
The made its first move of the night when down 5-3 early in the first quarter and then jumped out on a 14-2 run over a span of five minutes. Sophomore Cassidy Bosch (Logan, Ohio/Logan) kicked off the movement by working hard on the inside with a layup. After Wilmington briefly tied it up, sophomore Regan Stonerock (Westfall, Ohio/Circleville) continued her strong first quarter by helping regain the lead for Cap. Five different Capital players contributed on the offensive end and only two recorded multiple baskets in that time. Stonerock also collected three rebounds to help keep Capital in control. The Quakers broke up the streak of 12 consecutive points with a 3-pointer, but then freshman Caroline Taphorn (Harrison, Ohio/McAuley) turned it up by scoring the last six Capital points of the quarter. In the meantime, the CU defense held Wilmington without a field goal for the rest of the frame, leading to a 23-12 advantage after one quarter of play.
Despite the double-digit deficit, the Quakers battled back throughout the second quarter and eventually retook the lead just before heading into the locker room. An 8-0 run helped erase the Capital lead and Kelly Nott's jumper with seven seconds to go gave the guests a 34-32 advantage when the horn sounded.
When the two teams returned a back-and-forth dance broke out on the floor. Just when Wilmington seemed to get a slight edge, freshman Elle Folan (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline) intercepted a pass and took it the other way on the fast break to take back the momentum. Taphorn then tied the game at 47-47 on the next possession with a mid-range jumper from the left side, and two possessions later another freshman, Riley Hagy, hit a triple that captured the fans' hearts as the quarter drew to a close. Capital turned a four-point deficit into a seven-point lead via a nine-point swing in its favor to end the third quarter.
Wilmington did its best to stay within two possessions of Capital, but freshman Carlie Hulette (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) put the game on ice with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to regain its double-digit lead with less than five minutes to go. The date ended in Capital's favor, 73-61.
Seven of Taphorn's career-high 20 points came in the third quarter but was consistent throughout the contest. She hit 8-of-12 field goal attempts and added three helpers to her line. Her previous best was 19 points, which was also set against Wilmington earlier in the season.
With her eight points, Erin Risner (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) surpassed 500 career points scored. She now has 506 in 70 career games. She also added five rebounds and three steals in Wednesday's win.
For the third time in the last four games, Hulette scored 12 points against her opponent. She went 5-for-8 with four rebounds and three assists in the start. Stonerock led both sides with 13 rebounds, marking the seventh time she has finished with 10 or more boards in a game this season.
Mackenzie Campbell led the Quakers with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting and added five rebounds, two blocks and one steal. Only Kelly Noll (10) joined her in double digits for points.
The win also seals Capital's placement in the upcoming Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Tournament. With a 13-11 overall record and 9-8 conference mark, Capital will serve as the six seed and per the revised tournament format will play the number-three seed at its home location. Currently, Otterbein University (16-8, 12-5 OAC) serves as the third seed.
Capital will wrap up the regular season on the road at John Carroll University (7-17, 5-12 OAC) on Saturday, Feb. 14 at 3 p.m.