(Featured image courtesy of Joe Maiorana via ImpactActionSportsPhotography.com)
The women’s basketball program at Capital has long been a core part of the university, and in a time where not much is normal, the team is ready to return to the court and continue that tradition.
Led by long-time head coach Dixie Jeffers, the Crusaders and their relatively young team are looking to build off of what was a mediocre year in 2019-2020. They finished the year with a 14-12 record, going 9-9 in the conference. The team ended their season with a loss to Marietta in the OAC tournament.
The 2020-2021 season is getting started a little late with the women team’s first two games against Muskingum being declared a no-contest after the team initiated the NCAA and OAC COVID-19 response protocol.
Although it is a disappointing way to start the season, canceling the opening series of the year will ensure that other games may still be played later.
In a time where not much is guaranteed, Jeffers is taking things slow with the team, noting how they are taking the time to enjoy things more, and she admits that winning is not as important now as it would be during a normal year.
“When I went into this I wanted to give the kids the best experiences that I could possibly give them,” Jeffers said, “especially my two seniors.”
The goals for this year look different from all perspectives, players and coaches alike understand the differences that come with a season where everything is just one game at a time.
“It is based around team chemistry, it’s based around the compassion for one another, and based around laughing and enjoying the moment,” Jeffers said.
Her players echoed the sentiment; seniors Caroline Taphorn and Allison Roach both stressed the importance of not taking anything for granted and being thankful that they are having a season at all.
Caroline Taphorn said of the season, “I just want to make the most of whatever opportunities that they’re able to give us athletes this year, and like Allison, just you know, don’t take it for granted.”
Freshman Carrie “CJ” Wyman also echoed the same feelings of her coach and teammates, but acknowledges the strangeness of playing this season as a freshman.
“It is mostly me trying to adjust as fast as I can,” Wyman said.
After all of the talk and hoping, the team finally hit the court for the first time at home against conference rival, Heidelberg.
The team took a 29-27 lead into halftime, but Heidelberg put together a strong second half to ultimately take the game 61-54, dropping the Crusaders to a 0-1 record.
The team did not have to wait long to get another crack at getting their first win of the season, as the next day they traveled to Heidelberg for a rematch game.
Capital’s defense proved to be the difference in this one; they held Heidelberg to just 53 points on 15-54 shooting. Offensively, the team was driven by sophomore Kaylee Cyphers’s 20 points, which led to a 68-53 win for the Crusaders to even up their record at 1-1.
The team has their next action coming up against Wilmington, with another home and home series set to take place on Feb. 5 and 6.