By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Every game counts. That statement could not be truer for Capital University Women's Basketball. An extraordinary effort in a moment or throughout a game this season very well turned a loss into a win, and any one of those wins now have the Crusaders hosting a first-round postseason game in the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament. Capital and its archrival, Otterbein University, will square off at The Capital Center on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Capital (16-9, 11-7 OAC) earned the number four seed in this year's OAC Tournament, while Otterbein (15-10, 11-7 OAC) will serve as the five seed.
Senior Erin Risner (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) has been Capital's primary source of offense having scored 10 or more points in 20 out of 25 games this season. She is averaging 12.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game along with 2.1 assists per contest. Just two weeks ago, Risner set a career high with 31 points against Baldwin Wallace University.
Joining her in the frontcourt is Defensive Player of the Year nominee, Regan Stonerock (Circleville, Ohio/Westfall). The junior has been stout on interior defense, pacing a Capital team that allows just 60.5 points per game - ranking fourth in the OAC. She ranks second in the conference with 9.3 rebounds per game, and also averages 8.2 points per contest.
Freshman Emma Burns (Westerville, Ohio/St. Francis Desales) has come on since taking a starting role in mid-December. Twice she has scored a career-high 20 points and 11 times she has scored in double figures in 17 starts. She averages 8.9 points and 2.1 rebounds per game from the guard position.
Sophomore Carlie Hulette (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) has the hot hand as of late after scoring a career-high 17 points against Wilmington College on Feb. 13 and 15 points in this past weekend's win over the University of Mount Union, both off the bench. She has combined to hit 12-of-16 field goals in that time.
Otterbein is led by the OAC's top two leading scorers, Dani Kissel (19.1 ppg) and Ali Cartnal (16.1 ppg). They also house Abbie Scholz, who ranks third behind Stonerock in rebounds per game (8.3).
Cartnal ranks in the OAC's top 10 in field goals (126, 7th), 3-pointers (65, 2nd) and free throws (86, 3rd) to feed into her 16.1 points per game, which ranks second conference-wide. Kissel ranks first in field goals (184, 1st) and also is in the top 10 in 3-pointers from the forward position. Scholz will clean up the glass better than any other Cardinal, ranking first in the OAC for offensive rebounds (88) and third in total rebounds (198).
Also look for guard Angelia Jackson (7.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg) to factor into the equation for Otterbein.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Since the turn of the month, Capital has won four out of its last five games including key matchups against John Carroll, Wilmington and Mount Union. Its lone loss came at Baldwin Wallace by just two points in an incredible physical battle in Berea. With the team's recent run of success plus BW's win over Otterbein on Saturday, Capital found itself in a tie for fourth place with the Cardinals but held the tiebreaker for that spot given its win over JCU earlier in the month. With that, the Crusaders earned a first-round home game as the four seed.
On the other side of the court, Otterbein has lost three of its last five. Its two wins have been by large margins over Ohio Northern University (61-39) and Muskingum (90-60). The Cardinals also do not excel as well on the road, possessing a 5-6 record when playing away from The Rike Center.
The Crusaders and Cardinals split the season series with each team winning on its opponent's floor. Capital defeated Otterbein, 87-84, to kick off the rivalry series prior to the Cardinals coming back to Bexley and defeating the Crusaders, 72-61.
Since 2013, the Crusaders hold an 8-4 advantage over the Cardinals including one win in the OAC Tournament, that coming in during the 2016-17 season.
Ticket prices (prices are for full night, doubleheader)
Non-OAC student: $5.00
Senior (62+ years): $8.00
OAC student: Free
OAC lifetime passes will be honored, OAC season passes are not valid for the tournament
Capital Visitor's Guide (parking, directions, hospitality, dining options, etc.)