Capital Finishes on Right End of Offensive Slugfest

photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography
photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography

By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director

WESTERVILLE, Ohio – A combined total of 170 points was scored at The Rike Center when the crosstown rival of Columbus got together in Westerville on Saturday afternoon. Despite the Cardinals' stellar performance from behind the 3-point line, Capital mounted a fourth-quarter comeback that took down host Otterbein, 87-84, and gave the Crusaders its fourth straight win to begin the season.

Back and forth is a proper way to describe Saturday's rivalry matchup between the Cardinals and the Crusaders. Runs and lead changes at critical moments of the game were present and the Cardinals hung their hopes on its 3-point shooting abilities.

Only three points separated the two teams with tensions heating up with each passing minute as they head into the final quarter of play. Both team's shooting percentages dipped in the fourth, but Otterbein ran out to score the first 12 points of the fourth quarter to build a 76-67 lead.

Capital was not deterred. The Crusaders answered heroically with 12 straight points to tie the ballgame heading into the final 2:21. Five different Crusaders fed into the 12-0 response run, capped off by Elle Folan's go-ahead jumper and Regan Stonerock's successful drive to the rim to put CU up by three, 79-76.

Dani Kessel broke through the defense to get a layup to fall with 1:59 to go, but Otterbein still trailed by one. Knowing the Cardinals had fouls to give, Caroline Taphorn drove in and was fouled on her shot, which led to a pair of free throw makes to her line. She continued to do work inside and scored on another drive to put CU up by four, 83-79. With 28 seconds to go, Capital was tied up but had the arrow going its way and called timeout with 24.5 seconds remaining. The inbound pass was met with a foul and sent Taphorn to the line again, where she drained both free throw to extend Cap's lead to six, 85-79. Kissel came back with the next four Otterbein points and created a 3-point game, still in Capital's favor. Another foul sent Taphorn to the charity stripe, but the sophomore missed both shots and gave one last glimmer of hope to the Cardinals. After collecting the rebound, Kissell chucked a three-quarter court shot up but it was off the mark and Capital clinched the win.

Points were plentiful throughout the game from the very beginning. Both teams shot greater than 50 percent from the field with the main difference resting in Otterbein's 3-point shooting ability. The Cardinals hit 6-of-10 3-point attempts in the opening quarter, which led directly to the host's 27-20 lead coming out of the first break.

Capital was quick to begin chipping away at the deficit and maintained its high shooting marks, again hitting better than half of their field goals tries. The charge began at the beginning of the second quarter when junior Cassidy Bosch (Logan, Ohio/Logan) and sophomore Riley Hagy (New Lexington, Ohio/Bishop Rosecrans) hit back-to-back triples to draw the Crusaders to within four points of the Cardinals. Hagy's three-ball game stayed hot when she hit another shot from distance to keep it a three-point game, 35-32. Both teams traded hits from the floor but it was Hagy's drive to the bucket with a layup that gave Capital its first lead since the six-minute mark of the first quarter. Capital would have taken a lead into the locker room but Otterbein's Ali Cartnal drove through the Capital defense and hit a runner toward the bucket just before time expired.

The third quarter favored Capital after it regained the lead with help from six successful trips to the charity stripe to help them take a 67-64 lead into the fourth quarter. However, Otterbein's 3-point shooting efforts continued to not just keep them in the game but help them control much of the tempo and momentum of the frame. By the end of the game, the Cardinals went 16-for-33 from distance, setting a new Otterbein single-game team 3-point shooting record.

Capital had a respectable day from deep, hitting 7-of-12 (.583) from 3-point land, led by Cassidy Bosch's trio of triples. Bosch finished with 16 points off of the bench, tying a career high set early in her freshman season.

Bosch was one of five Crusaders to hit double digits in the scoring column in Saturday win. Sophomore guard Elle Folan (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline) led the team with 18 points to go along with four assists. She was also a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe after not having an attempt in each of her previous three games. Senior forward Erin Risner (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) scored 10-plus for the third straight game, finishing with a season-high 16. Junior Regan Stonerock (Circleville, Ohio/Westfall) notched her first double-double of the season after putting forth 14 points and 12 rebounds. Taphorn joined the quartet with 10 total points.

Capital will now bring its 4-0 (1-0 OAC) record back to The Capital Center for its home opener on Thursday, Dec.  6 when it hosts Muskingum University at 7 p.m.