By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Seeking redemption from a loss to the Polar Bears earlier in the year, Capital University Women's Basketball evened the score with a huge upset win over No. 10/11 Ohio Northern University on Saturday afternoon. The Crusaders featured a strong start and never lost the lead before finalizing their victory over the Polar Bears at The Capital Center, 84-76. Elle Folan was key in the win, laying down a new career-high 26 points behind a stellar shooting day.
The Crusaders (10-9, 6-6 OAC) rattled off a 7-2 run to start the game, capped off by an Annika Wachtman (Upper Arlington, Ohio/Upper Arlington) 3-pointer. Erin Risner (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) shined as the star of the first quarter with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the frame. Her performance while battling double teams was key in the hosts building a nine-point lead by the end of the first and eventually, Capital kept pouring the offense on as it built that advantage up to 16 points. Collectively, Capital shot a stunning 71.4 percent (10-14) from the field and took care of the ball with zero turnovers.
Once the ONU defense started keying in on Risner, the Crusaders were able to utilize freshman sharpshooter Elle Folan (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline) to help bust open the game. Folan hit three of her seven triples in the second quarter, including one that extended Capital's lead to 36-20 midway through the stanza.
That sizable advantage was necessary for staving off the Polar Bears who climbed back to within three points by halftime. Capital was held scoreless and committed five turnovers over the final 6:09 of the second quarter and ONU hit the opening basket of the third quarter to make for a one-point game, 39-38.
Folan responded with yet another 3-pointer to maintain distance from the Orange and Black. Ohio Northern standout Amy Bullimore found herself in foul trouble early in the second half and was relegated to the bench, opening up more of the floor for the Capital offense. Wachtman and Folan built a connection in the third quarter that helped Capital once again bounce out to a sizable lead. With 3:10 remaining in the third, Wachtman delivered a pass to Folan who then hit a trey from the right wing. On the very next CU possession, the duo replicated that effort to make the game 57-51. Wachtman and Folan then flipped the script, this time Folan delivering the lead pass to Wachtman's three ball to make it a nine-point game once again.
Ohio Northern made it interesting by getting the contest back to a two-possession game, but with time dwindling Ohio Northern began to commit fouls with hopes for extra possessions and scoring chances. Capital answered the call by hitting eight straight free throws down the stretch to seal the deal and complete the upset win, 84-76.
Capital's highest offensive output of the season was fuel by strong shooting performances up and down the lineup, ending in a team shooting percentage of 55.1 percent. They went 20-for-22 (.909) from the free-throw line and 10-of-16 (.625) from behind the arc. Capital overcame ONU's rebounding edge by forcing 17 Polar Bear turnovers which turned into 23 points.
Folan finished the day with 26 points and hit 7-of-10 3-point shots, both serving as new career highs. She also added two assists and two steals in what was the best game of her time in purple and white.
Four Capital starters, including Folan, finished with 10 or more points. Risner ended the day with 19 and also led the team with six helpers. Wachtman posted 14 points, eight from the free-throw line, and dished out five assists. Freshman Caroline Taphorn (Harrison, Ohio/McAuley) added 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and tallied five assists.
Bullimore scored a team-high 19 points for the Polar Bears and completed a double-double effort behind 12 rebounds. Lindsey Black (14) and Jenna Dirksen joined her in double figures. Ohio Northern (17-2, 11-1 OAC) still shot a respectable 53.7 percent from the field but went just 6-for-17 from distance.
Capital has now won back-to-back games and will look for win number three in a row at home against Heidelberg University on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. from inside The Capital Center.