By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
MARIETTA, Ohio – Capital University Women's Basketball gave everything it had in Thursday night's Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament semi-final matchup against Marietta College. Despite an early lead the visiting Crusaders ran out of steam and fell to the Pioneers, 81-69, at Ban Johnson Arena, ending the team's season.
Capital's defense took the spotlight in the first quarter when the Crusaders limited the host Pioneers to just seven points, marking its second slow start in as many games. Despite not having a steal, Capital induced eight Marietta turnovers in the opening frame and held the Pioneers to just 18.8 percent (3-16) shooting. Cap scored the game's first five points and went on to hold a 12-7 advantage heading into the first break with help from junior Erin Risner's six points.
Both team's offensive outputs heightened in the second quarter with a total of 48 points scored between them. Marietta picked up eight points on Cap and took the lead for the first time near the midway point of the quarter after increasing its presence in the low post. Freshman Elle Folan (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline) came through with a big 3-pointer to help retake the lead, but the Pioneers' defense held CU scoreless for the final 3:24 of the half while they scored six more points to make it 35-32 before the horn sounded.
Capital trailed by as many as nine points during the third, but the Crusaders did not give up and trimmed the lead with makes by Erin Risner (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield), Caroline Taphorn (Harrison, Ohio/McAuley) and Cassidy Bosch (Logan, Ohio/Logan). Another spurt of offense out of the Pioneers grew that advantage to seven, but the Crusaders entered the fourth quarter in a two-possession game.
For a solid four-minute span, Capital's defense was either causing a turnover and limiting the Pioneers to mere free throws, which allowed the Purple and White to get back to within striking distance after falling behind by eight. Bosch connected on a big three-point play after being fouled on a take to the hoop to make the score 65-59. That was immediately followed by a turnover by Amisha Herd, prompting a Capital timeout to set up the next play. Fresh off the bench, Risner came in and dropped two more points to make for a four-point game which kept Capital alive with 4:33 to play.
Marietta put a stop to Capital's late comeback with a 9-2 outburst with four different players contributing in the run. Brooke Borich gave Marietta its first double-digit lead with 2:37 remaining and later hit a 3-pointer with 1:21 to go to close the door.
Four Capital players, including three starters, finished with 10 or more points. That group was led by Taphorn's 17 points and followed up by Risner (14), Bosch (14), and Regan Stonerock (10). Bosch's total served as a season-high and was just two short of matching a career high.
Regan Stonerock (Westfall, Ohio/Circleville) also grabbed 10 rebounds to couple with her 10 points, marking her team-high third double-double of the season.
In her final collegiate game, senior Annika Wachtman (Upper Arlington, Ohio/Upper Arlington) pulled down six rebounds and dished out five assists, paired with two points. She finishes her career with 521 points scored, 132 assists and 295 rebounds.
Marietta (23-4) now advances to the OAC Tournament championship game for the first time in program history. They will play top-seeded Ohio Northern University for the tournament title on Saturday afternoon.
Capital closes its season with a 14-13 overall record, marking an improvement from last year's campaign.