By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio – Heading into the final game of the regular season, Capital University Women's Basketball had a chance to improve its seeding in the Ohio Athletic Conference. Following a 72-71 heartbreaking, overtime loss to John Carroll University on Saturday, Capital will enter the tournament as the six-seed.
Following a back-and-forth game, the Crusaders had to battle back in the final few minutes to force overtime against the Blue Streaks. Erin Risner (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) hit a layup with just under three minutes to play in the fourth quarter that pulled Capital within one, 63-62. The Crusaders took a 64-63 lead with just 45 seconds left thanks to a jumper by Cassidy Bosch (Logan, Ohio/Logan). On John Carroll's ensuing possession, Kahrin Spear converted one free throw to tie the game at 64.
On Capital's next possession following a pair of timeouts and a JCU foul, freshman guard Caroline Taphorn (Harrison, Ohio/McAuley), fresh off of a career-high 20 points on Wednesday night, dribbled the ball at the top of the key, drove, pulled up and nailed a jumper that put the Crusaders ahead 66-64 with only four seconds left.
After a John Carroll timeout that advanced the ball, the Blue Streaks inbounded to the left side of the court and Spear calmly hit a jumper of her own with one second left on the clock, tying the game at 66. Capital could not convert its small chance to end the game in regulation.
Capital got on the board first in OT thanks to two free throws from Taphorn, her 19th and 20th points of the afternoon but Nicole Heffington hit two of her own from the charity stripe to tie the game again. The Blue Streaks took a 70-68 lead after Dani Carlson made two free throws for JCU with three and a half minutes to play.
After almost two minutes of scoreless basketball, Heffington was fouled with 1:38 left on the overtime clock and again converted two from the line, putting John Carroll up 72-68.
Taphorn made a free throw to make it a three-point game on Capital's next possession and following a JCU miss, Annika Wachtman (Upper Arlington, Ohio/Upper Arlington) scooped in a layup with 45 seconds left to make it a one-point game.
John Carroll missed a three on their end and the ball found its way into Taphorn's hands with 14 seconds left and a chance to win. After going coast-to-coast and finding her way into the paint, the freshman's layup attempt from the left side rolled off the rim and the buzzer sounded as the ball bounced around.
Taphron finished with a career-high 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting in 40 minutes. Wachtman scored 12 and pulled down nine rebounds in 43 minutes and also dished out three assists. Heffington led the game in scoring with 24 points and corralled eight boards.
With the loss, Capital falls to 13-12 overall and 9-9 in the OAC and will face the University of Mount Union in the OAC Tournament Quarterfinals on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m.