By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
TIFFIN, Ohio – With only four games remaining in the regular season and Capital University Women's basketball in a tightly-contested battle for home-court advantage in the upcoming Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament, every win down the stretch is vital. The Crusaders took another step towards a top four position on Wednesday with an 84-75 win over Heidelberg University, their second-highest scoring game of the season.
Heidelberg scored the first four points of the contest but the Crusaders responded quickly and powerfully by scoring 13 of the next 15. Elle Folan started the run with a triple, her first of five on the night, and Erin Risner gave Capital a 5-4 lead with a shot in the paint. Folan then connected from deep again after a Heidelberg make, Risner laid a shot in and Folan made it 3-for-3 from deep to increase Capital's lead to 13-6. From that point on, Heidelberg never regained the lead.
The Student Princes were able to get within one point with an 8-2 run that cut Capital's lead to 15-14 but Emma Burns, Carlie Hulette and Cassidy Bosch combined for a 9-0 run as Capital took a 24-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Capital increased its lead to as many as 13 points and the Crusaders led 44-32 at the half. Folan finished the half with nine points and Risner scored eight while forward Regan Stonerock cleaned the glass with 12 first-half rebounds. Capital shot 19-of-34 from the field in the first 20 minutes, including 4-of-6 from deep in the first quarter.
The Crusaders' lead continued to grow in the third quarter and scored six of the second half's first eight points as Heidelberg struggled to find a groove. Capital's largest lead of the night came at the 5:46 mark in the third when a jumper from Hulette put the Crusaders ahead 58-39. Heidelberg ended the period on an 18-7 run but by then, Capital's lead had grown too large for the Student Princes to get within striking distance.
Heidelberg shrunk the gap to five points, 65-60, to start the fourth quarter but the Crusaders again were able to respond and pulled away over the final 10 minutes to hang on for the victory.
Folan led the team with 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting from downtown while Stonerock scored 16 points and grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds. Ten of Stonerock's points came in the third and fourth quarters as Capital successfully kept Heidelberg at bay. Six of her 19 boards came off the offensive glass. Risner stuffed the box score with 12 points, five rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block. All five of Capital's starts scored in double figures, as did Bosch off the bench with 10 points.
As a team, Capital shot 51.6 percent from the floor and was 7-of-13 from beyond the arc. The Crusaders outrebounded Heidelberg 33-29 and had only nine turnovers to Heidelberg's 14. Capital also scored 42 points in the paint compared the Heidelberg's 22.
The Crusaders are now 14-8 overall and are 9-6 in the OAC, tied with the University of Mount Union and Marietta College in the conference standings. Capital will be on the road for its final road test of the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 9 at Baldwin Wallace University. The Yellow Jackets are currently in second place in the conference with a 10-5 OAC record. Tipoff in Berea is scheduled for 3 p.m.