By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – In a crucial Ohio Athletic Conference showdown between two teams jousting for ground in the conference standings, Wednesday night's scrap between Capital University and Marietta College featured 10 ties and six lead changes before the Crusaders blew the doors open with a 31-point fourth quarter. The outburst, led by Erin Risner, fueled the Crusaders in its 82-69 victory at The Capital Center Performance Arena.
The line score was nearly identical through three quarters with just one point separating the Pioneers and Crusaders. A mere free throw by Capital's Regan Stonerock (Circleville, Ohio/Westfall) made the difference in a 51-50 affair heading into the fourth quarter.
When senior leadership was needed, Erin Risner (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) answered the call. She began the scoring in Capital's biggest offensive display and was immediately followed by Elle Folan's 3-pointer on their next possession. The lead soon grew to seven points with back-to-back close-range makes, jumpstarting a 13-2 run to create space on the scoreboard. Junior Cassidy Bosch kept the crowd on its feet with a triple from the outside to push Cap's lead to double-digits for the first time that evening.
Risner jumped back into the action with two more makes less than one minute apart to build a 14-point lead with 3:43 to go. Capital then went bucket for bucket with the Pioneers towards the close of the game to keep its distance and run off with an 82-69 win. Risner finished with 10 points of 5-of-7 shooting in the fourth quarter alone, and a team-high 18 points for the game.
Neither team fared well from behind the arc as both teams shot under 30 percent from long range. Capital made its living inside the painted area and making good use of 20 Marietta turnovers. The Crusaders converted those miscues into 24 points and outscored the Pioneers 26-16 in the paint. Cap also held advantages on the boards with Marietta post standout Corrie Burkhardt out of the lineup. The held a plus-eight rebounding edge and scored 16 second-chance points to Marietta's nine. Cap also did a serviceable job at the charity stripe, hitting 28-of-40 (.700) free throws on the evening.
Five Capital players hit double figures in scoring, led by Risner's 18 points. The senior also had two blocks and nine boards on the defensive end. Stonerock notched her third double-double of the year behind 13 points and 11 rebounds. Bosch went 4-for-8 from field goal range and added four rebounds to go along with her 13 points off of the bench. Also hitting double figures was freshman Emma Burns (11) and sophomore Caroline Taphorn (10).
The Crusaders (9-5, 4-3 OAC) will look to ride this wave into the weekend's matchup with the top team in the OAC, John Carroll University (10-4, 6-1 OAC), who squeaked out a road win over Heidelberg University, 70-68, on Wednesday night. The Crusaders and Blue Streaks will meet in University Heights this Saturday at 3 p.m.