By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – With support from a pair of well-timed runs plus Elle Folan's career-high 20 points, the Capital University women's basketball team dropped the Denison University Big Red, 69-62, on Friday night as part of the opening day of the Capital / Marriott Columbus Airport Holiday Tournament at The Capital Center.
Capital got off to a hot start behind the strong play of Elle Folan, who scored the Crusaders' first eight points of the game. Denison came back to take the lead by as many as five points, but Erin Risner helped Capital tie the game back up at 21 before the end of the first quarter. Risner took advantage of the sizable Lauren Longbrake being on the bench and attacked the bucket with a reverse layup for her fifth and sixth points of the quarter.
In a classic back-and-forth affair, the first half featured five ties despite Denison holding a lead for a majority of the first two quarters. A costly injury to Denison post player Addie Buzas late in the second quarter opened the door for Capital to begin pounding the low post on the offensive end, and also took the Big Red's leading scorer at the time out of the contest. Even though 12 of Capital's 21 points came inside the painted area, it was freshman Elle Folan's step-back 3-pointer from the right wing that tied the game, 34-34, as both teams headed into halftime.
Folan, a Cincinnati, Ohio native, picked up where she left off with a response trey to keep the game tied out of the gate. Midway through the third quarter, Capital's Cassidy Bosch began a 12-0 run that lasted nearly five minutes of time and allowed the Crusaders to build a 53-45 lead. Six different scorers contributed points during the run, though Risner added two rebounds and one steal in addition to two points. Freshman Riley Hagy (New Lexington, Ohio/Bishop Rosencrans) scored the first points of her collegiate career during the run.
Denison's Valesha Province hit a 3-pointer at the end of the third, snapping the Big Red's scoreless streak and giving light to its dark period in which they shot just 35 percent and did not make a trip to the free-throw line. The Big Red then went on to score the first four points of the fourth quarter to draw within one point of the Crusaders, 53-52. Freshman Caroline Taphorn scored her first and only points to grow Cap's lead to three, and then Erin Risner (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) took over with six straight points and solid defense on the other end. The junior post player emptied the tank en route to taking a team-high 19 shots and finished second of the team in rebounds (6) and points (19).
Following Risner's outburst, sophomore Regan Stonerock (Circleville, Ohio/Westfall) put up another successful layup, creating a secure eight-point lead and inducing a free-throw shooting contest that favored Capital to end the game. Capital earned its fifth win of the season, 69-62, and its second consecutive nonconference victory.
Capital made its living in the low post, outscoring Denison in that area 34-22. Risner was a major contributor in that field, along with Stonerock, who finished with her first double-double of the year. She has now recorded 10 or more points in four straight games. Stonerock ended the night with 10 points and a game- and season-high 13 rebounds.
Annika Wachtman (10) and Folan (20) rounded out the Capital double-digit scorers. Combined, the foursome accounted for 88.4 percent of the Crusaders' total scoring. Folan's 20 points set a new career-high and marked the first time a Capital player hit the 20-point plateau in a game this season.
Lauren Longbrake paced Denison with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting, and added eight rebounds in the loss. Brittany Atkinson chipped in 14 on a 5-for-5 field goal shooting night. No other Big Red player eclipsed nine points.
Capital (5-5) is now set to play Kenyon College (10-2) on Saturday evening in the final game of the Capital / Marriott Columbus Airport Holiday Tournament. Kenyon defeated Franklin College (2-5) in game one of the tournament, 70-65, in overtime. Kenyon also serves as the fourth North Coast Athletic Conference opponent Capital will face this year. Cap is 2-1 against the NCAC this season with its lone loss coming against Wittenberg University by just four points. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. from inside The Capital Center.
Time may alter based on the end time of the Franklin / Denison game, which begins at 3 p.m.