By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Women's Basketball leveled its overall record after defeating the Allegheny Gators, 64-54, in a Tuesday night nonconference matchup. While the Gators relied heavily on one player for its offense, the Crusaders had a different player shine in the spotlight at various points of the game en route to earning its fourth win of the season.
Four Capital players finished with 10 or more points in the game, and each had all eyes on them during various Capital runs. The freshman tandem of Caroline Taphorn (Harrison, Ohio/McAuley) and Elle Folan (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline) shared the attention during the first half, accounting 10 points each.
Both teams' offenses started slowly with neither team scoring until more than three minutes of game time had elapsed. Taphorn broke the scoreless streak with a pair of free throws, and the first field goal was recorded by Allegheny's Rylee Donovan on the next possession. Capital did not hit its first field goal until the clock read 2:41, but its defense kept the teams separated by just four points to that stage. Allegheny's eight first-quarter turnovers nullified its 14-5 rebounding advantage and helped fuel a 9-0 run that Capital used to overtake the Gators after the first quarter. Folan scored the period's last five points to aid in Cap's 11-8 lead.
Allegheny (3-6) eventually caught up, but another Folan 3-pointer temporarily kept CU ahead. With a five-point lead in hand, Delaney Arbore began a 6-2 finish to the quarter with a pair of free throws and then bookended that with a three-point play with a layup plus converted foul shot. Allegheny possessed a one-point lead, 34-33, at halftime.
Capital rolled out a second 9-0 run to start play in the second half and kept the Gators off of the board for the first 5:39 of the third quarter. Tori Grasso (Amherst, Ohio/Firelands) and Regan Stonerock (Circleville, Ohio/Westfall) accounted for all of Capital's points with five coming off the fingers of Stonerock. She then added another bucket to keep a nine-point lead, 45-36, before Arbore once again got Allegheny back into the game with a pair of free throws plus the team's lone 3-point make of the game. Mari Casale and Madison Caufield then hit back-to-back short-range shots to tie the game at 45 leading into the final stanza.
Eight of Stonerock's 10 points came in the third period. Junior Erin Risner (Canfield, Ohio) then rose up and took over the fourth quarter.
Despite early turnover struggles, Risner came back from those setbacks and went 4-for-6 from the field, scored nine points and added three rebounds, two on the offensive end, to help Capital outscore Allegheny 19-9 in the fourth. Grasso continued to chip in on both the offensive and defensive ends to keep the game close but with 7:12 to go Risner hit the first of her four makes in the period to give CU the lead for good. Despite Arbore's best attempt to combat Capital's final charge, Risner, Grasso and Folan combined for a strong shooting performance and a 10-3 rebounding advantage to keep the Gators in check. Seven of Risner's points came in succession to widen the team's lead and sealed Cap's victory.
Risner finished with a team-high 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting and added six rebounds plus three steals in 22 minutes played off of the bench. It also marked a new season-high point total.
Folan finished just behind her teammate with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers. She has now scored 10 or more points in three straight games and four of her last five.
Grasso set new career highs in minutes played (22), field goals (4), rebounds (7) and points (8). She has now played in four straight games after playing in just one of the first four of the season.
Arbore led the Gators with 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. No other Allegheny player scored in double figures and only one scored more than four points.
Capital closed a minus-10 rebounding margin at halftime to just minus-1 by game's end and converted 23 points off of 24 Gator turnovers. After taking 21 trips to the free throw line and hitting 17 tries, Capital is now 3-0 when going to the charity stripe 20 or more times this season.
CU has one more game to play before breaking for the holiday. They will head to Berea, Ohio to play Baldwin Wallace University (5-3, 1-2 OAC) on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff from Ursprung Gymnasium is set for 3 p.m.