MC women suffer second-half blues in loss to Capital

Marietta College went from boom to bust.

After leading Capital University 37-28 at the break, the Lady Pioneers fell off the pace in the second half and suffered a 67-56 setback in an Ohio Athletic Conference women’s basketball game at Ban Johnson Arena Wednesday night.

“We’re right there,” said first-year MC head coach Stacia Shrider, whose Lady Pioneer cagers (6-10 overall, 1-8 OAC) lost their fourth straight game. “The first half, we played great. We really struggled scoring in the second half, and turnovers definitely killed us.”

Marietta shot 57.7 percent (15 of 26) from the floor during the first 20 minutes of play and 30.4 percent (seven of 23) in the second half. After committing nine TOs in the first half, the Lady Pioneers finished with 25 in the game.

“We’ve got to learn how to put two halves together,” said Shrider, whose team also squandered a halftime lead in its previous game at John Carroll University. “I think that comes with our youth and inexperience. We’re really close. We’re on the brink, and we’re going to keep plugging away.”

Tori Dixon led MC with 13 points. Heather Booth chipped in with 10, and Paige Lamb netted nine.

Candice Alexander grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

Capital’s Stacy Timmerman tallied a game-high 29 points, and Cookie Geroski added 19. The Lady Crusaders improved their record to 11-5 and 6-3.

Sparked by Dixon and Booth, who scored eight points apiece in the first half, MC had Capital reeling. The Lady Pioneers made their first four shots on buckets by Lamb, Dixon, Booth, and Lamb again to lead 9-2. After Dixon drained a three to give the home team its first double-digit advantage, the lady Crusaders signaled timeout.

But MC stayed hot when play was resumed and maintained the lead for the remainder of the half. Providing a lift off the pine, Jessica Brogan scored seven points; Lindsay Deemer, four; and Shelby Maloney, three.

Timmerman kept Capital from getting blown off the court by scoring 13 first-half markers.

At the start of the second half, Capital capitalized on some cold shooting by Marietta, and slowly but surely whittled away at the lead. The Lady Pioneers didn’t make their first deuce until Deemer’s bucket at the 12:34 mark.

With 9:02 remaining, Geroski’s jumper gave the Lady Crusaders their first lead, 46-45, of the contest. After that, the visitors never looked back.

With a little over two minutes left, Marietta’s Candice Alexander’s freebie cut it to three, 57-54, but that’s as close as the home team would get. Down the stretch, the Lady Pioneers were kept at bay by Capital’s deadeye shooting at the foul line.

“The second half is always an issue for us,” Shrider said. “We’ve got to find a way to get ourselves pumped up, take care of the basketball, and score offensively.”

Marietta is scheduled to play at Wilmingon on Saturday.