By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Crusader women's basketball team started off hot after building a 25-point lead early in the second quarter, but the competitive nature of Ohio Athletic Conference teams leaves nothing to certainty. Wilmington College battled back and made Wednesday evening's showdown a challenge to the bitter end but Capital prevailed over the Fightin' Quakers, 81-76, at The Capital Center Performance Arena in its first game back from the holiday break.
AND THEY'RE OFF!
- Before fans could blink, the Crusaders were off on a 13-0 run to begin the game paced by a steady dose on inside work by Regan Stonerock and Cassidy Bosch. Cap turned to Emma Burns for aid on the outside to help Cap go up big early in the game.
- The Crusaders kept Wilmington off of the scoreboard for the opening 5:54. The Quakers were held to just three points for just short of nine minutes of the opening 10.
- Cap took a 26-8 lead into the second quarter.
- The Capital lead reached its peak at 25 points when Emma Burns hit another triple early in the second quarter to make the score 33-8 just 1:25 into the second quarter.
FIGHTIN' QUAKERS FIGHT BACK
- Once down 25, Wilmington quickly rattled off six unanswered points in less than one minute of game time, which seemed to inject its offense with a spark of life not seen in the first 13 minutes of the game.
- Wilmington trimmed the deficit to 15 heading into halftime and then worked to quickly close the gap further out of the break.
- McKayla Binkley's layup just 1:09 into the third quarter cut the Capital lead to single digits and both teams battled to keep it between nine and 13 points through most of the third.
- Wilmington hit 11-of-12 free throws and outrebounded Cap 13-8 in the third quarter to help bridge the gap. Zahrya Bailey's layup in the final seconds of the quarter brought WC to within seven points, Cap's slimmest lead to that point.
TOOTH AND NAIL TO THE END
- Urgency began to set in for Wilmington, which was answered by back-to-back makes by Hannah Binkley and Ellen Nilbeck to cut the Cap lead to five, 65-60.
- Binkley and Kennedy Lewis later took advantage of a Capital turnover and bookended jumpers to cut the lead to three, 77-74 with just 36 seconds to go.
- Out of a WC timeout, Capital's Caroline Taphorn was fouled on her approach into the frontcourt. With Cap in the bonus, the junior was awarded two free throws, hit both and built a five-point lead. It then became a game of free throws, and with two more makes at the line by Emma Burns the Crusaders iced the game for the win.
- Four of Capital's five starters finished with more than 10 points in the win. Emma Burns (Westerville, Ohio/St. Francis Desales) led Cap and tied a career-high with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, three of those makes from behind the arc.
- Regan Stonerock (Circleville, Ohio/Westfall) was one rebound short of a double-double after notching 19 points and nine boards. She was one of three Crusaders to chip in three assists, as well.
- Wilmington's McKayla Binkley led all scorers with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field, plus 8-of-10 from the free-throw line.
- Cap held a 47-32 advantage over Wilmington in the rebounding category and shot at a better rate by nearly seven percent.
Capital (8-4, 3-2 OAC) is now 5-2 at home and will welcome the University of Mount Union into The Capital Center this weekend. Game time is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 11.
Saturday is Community Day at Capital. In appreciation for the community's support of the Crusaders, all Bexley and Columbus-area residents will be granted free admission to the game. In addition, fans will be treated to a halftime performance by the Dublin Sparks jump rope team. Following the game, fans will be welcomed to the floor for a meet-and-greet and autograph session with the Crusaders. Kids ages five to 14 will then be treated to a free youth clinic put on by the team and led by national champion head coach, Dixie Jeffers.