By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio – Though the overall series between Capital University and John Carroll University favors the Crusaders heavily, Saturday afternoon was not a day to add to that total win count. By way of a fourth quarter in which CU was outscored 20-4, the first place Blue Streaks turned the Crusaders away from the DeCarlo Varsity Center with a 67-45 defeat.
Both teams came out of the gate and featured fast-paced offenses, but after a few costly fouls both sides slowed down the action. Capital benefited from the change of pace when sophomores Elle Folan and Caroline Taphorn hit a pair of 3-pointers to counter John Carroll's size advantage inside. Cap's lead topped out at eight points after that stint. Their lead was as many as nine, but the Crusaders ended the first up 18-13.
John Carroll (11-4, 7-1 OAC) opened up the second quarter with the first bucket and then came back down the floor and Olivia Nagy came up with two rejections under the basket when Cap attempted to go inside. Nagy collected a third block in the quarter on the next possession and the JCU interior defense made it difficult to penetrate. Cassidy Bosch stepped back and got lost in the traffic and plinked a 3-pointer to quiet the crowd and put Cap back up 23-19. JCU answered with an easy layup on the other end, prompting a timeout.
Throughout the quarter, senior Erin Risner (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) welcomed the challenge presented by Nagy and continued to back down the 6-foot, 2-inch freshman. Without fear, Risner continued to attack the rim and back out for mid-range jumpers. After the end of the second, she led the team with eight points but the Crusaders sought to improve on its 25.6 percent shooting marks after ending the frame hitting just one of its last nine shot attempts. Conversely, John Carroll shot 52 percent but took 14 fewer shots than the Crusaders.
Capital went nearly six minutes without a point scored when straddling the half. Freshman Emma Burns snapped that scoreless streak with a free throw and then came back and hit a 3-pointer to bring Cap to within three points, 36-33, with 4:32 remaining in the third. JCU stepped up its efforts from the outside to spread the floor but also saw some success with it to grow its lead to five. The tempo began to escalate once again, which favored JCU. The hosts grew their lead to seven when they drove back inside for its next couple of buckets and maintained a six-point advantage heading into the final frame.
Through the first three minutes of the first quarter, it appeared that much of the action was going Capital's way but following the turn at the seven-minute mark it became all John Carroll. A 14-2 run fueled a quarter in which the Crusaders were outscored by 16 points. Cap shot just 1-for-15 (.067) from field goal range and was outrebounded 14-7 in the quarter. John Carroll's Olivia Nagy also tallied four of her 11 total blocks in the frame to stifle the Cap offense. Meanwhile, Nagy led the Blue Streaks, which shot 50 percent (9-18) in the frame, with six points amidst the breakaway. Cap was unable to recover and took its four loss in conference play this season.
Risner led the Crusaders with 10 points and had a supporting line of seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block. Regan Stonerock led the Crusaders with 11 rebounds, while Caroline Taphorn added eight points off the bench. Cap shot just 22.7 percent as a team over the course of the game.
Nagy finished the game with the first triple-double of her career. The freshman tallied 26 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocks to lead the Blue Streaks to victory. Nicole Heffington also had a strong performance behind 17 points and five rebounds.
Capital (9-6, 4-4 OAC) will now ready itself for a home contest against Heidelberg University on Wednesday, January 16. The Student Princes and Crusaders will square up at The Capital Center and tip off at 7 p.m.