ASHLAND, Ohio - Top-seeded Ashland University defeated #4 Michigan Technological University, 80-70, while #2 Ferris State University downed #3 Tiffin University, 53-39, in the semifinals of the 2012 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) tournament, being held at Kates Gymnasium in Ashland, Ohio.
Ashland will face Ferris State in the tournament's championship game on Sunday (Mar. 4) at 2:00 p.m. The winner will receive the GLIAC's automatic qualification bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament, which will get underway next weekend.
(Release courtesy of the AU Spots
[Click here for AU-MTU Box Score]
Houdini was good and David Copperfield was great. But when it comes to a first-rate disappearing act, they both have miles to go to equal Ashland University sophomore guard Alyssa Miller (Zanesville, Ohio/Tri-Valley).
On Feb. 16 when the Eagles pulled off a high-wire act in a 63-62 win, Michigan Tech guard Sam Hoyt scored 33 points and knocked down seven three-point field goals. Saturday (Mar. 3) at Kates Gymnasium in the semifinals of the GLIAC Tournament, Miller turned the MTU scoring machine into an illusion. Hoyt scored seven points, none in the second half and Ashland advanced to Sunday's tournament championship game with an 80-70 win.
The win was the 27th straight for the fourth-ranked Eagles (27-1) and it is the 19th straight at home dating back to last season. AU is after the first GLIAC Tournament championship in school history. The Eagles will be matched against Ferris State, which quieted Tiffin, 53-39, in Saturday's second game. The GLIAC Championship Game will be played on Sunday (Mar. 4) at 2 p.m., at Kates Gymnasium.
All of Hoyt's points on Saturday came in the first half. For the game, she went 3-of-10 from the floor and 1-of-8 from three-point range. In the second half she was 0-for-5 with all those attempts coming from three-point range.
"You can't write this story without mentioning Alyssa Miller," emphasized AU head coach Sue Ramsey. Asked what message she gave Miller, Ramsey said her words were right to the point – "Don't leave her."
While Miller was focusing on point prevention, senior guard Jena Stutzman and junior forward Kari Daugherty (Fresno, Ohio/Dayton) concerned themselves with point production. Daugherty scored a career-high 31 points and yanked down 20 rebounds for her 10th consecutive double-double. Stutzman had 28 points and went 6-for-8 from three-point range. Five of her three-pointers came in the second half and each one was a dagger to Tech's heart. Miller, Stutzman and Daugherty each played 40 minutes.
"Jena had that little hop in her step," said Ramsey. "You're looking at two first team All-GLIAC players (Stutzman, Daugherty). Great players make great plays. That's what they did. After the game Jena's in the locker room saying, 'I need to do a better job defensively.' That tells you a lot about our team."
AU led, 36-30 at halftime. Tech's only lead came 18 seconds into the game, 2-0. But the Eagles could never shake the Huskies (20-7), who entered this game ranked ninth in the region. Thanks to this loss, the Huskies might not go to the NCAA playoffs. That's a shame because this team has tremendous balance and it can play with any team in the region. The Eagles didn't need to be reminded of that because of that great escape they experienced in late February.
"Obviously, it was a great game two weeks ago," Ramsey said. "It was really good that we got the chance to play them so soon. There were some specific things we did today and those were fresh in our players' minds. Our team did what it has done all year, focus on the next game."
This game took physical and mental strength. With 13:01 left in regulation, Daugherty hit a jumper and AU led, 49-39. Tech got two jumpers from 5-11 sophomore forward Taylor Stippel and a three-pointer from guard Emma Veach and with 10:48 left in the game, the Ashland lead was down to four points, 52-48.
"No. 54 (Stippel) was tough," admitted Daugherty. "She was catching it and turning around and hitting jump shots."
"Veach is athletic," said Stutzman. "I thought Tenyak (Lindsay) did a good job on her in the second half."
Veach, who missed the first AU-MTU game, finished with 15 points and Stippel had 14 points (7-of-11 from the floor). Another thorn in AU's side was forward Lindsey Lindstrom, who had a team-high 18 points and five boards. Still, Miller was depriving the Huskies of Hoyt, a first team all-conference player who's good for 16.0 ppg., per game. That made a huge difference because it forced Tech to look for its second and third options.
That Tech was able to remain in the game while doing that shows just how well the Huskies are playing right now. Clinging to that four-point lead with 10:48 to go, the Eagles turned to Stutzman. She put the lead back up to seven points with a three-pointer with 10:33 left in the game.
"My teammates did a great job of finding me," noted Stutzman. "They couldn't stop Kari inside and that opened things up for me outside. We really had great balance. Tenyak didn't score a lot but I thought she and Alyssa did a good job of attacking."
The Eagles were able to hurt the Huskies with slashing drives to the hoop. Tenyak scored just two points, but she didn't have a turnover in 38 minutes. Miller had eight points and five boards, three on the offensive end of the court which helped prolong possessions.
With 10 minutes left in the game, Ashland led, 57-48. Again Tech answered, cutting the AU advantage down to 57-55 thanks to a Lindstrom triple with 8:23 to go. Again, Stutzman answered the call with a jumper and AU led, 59-55. Tech's next possession ended with another trey by Lindstrom and the Ashland lead was down to a single digit, 59-58 with 7:55 left. When Tenyak had a jumper blocked by Stippel following that Lindstrom bucket, the Eagles were in a perilous position.
"I looked up and they are down one with the ball," said Ramsey. "I thought, 'They can take the lead."
Lindstrom tried to drive the lane but in heavy traffic she misfired. Daugherty secured the rebound. She missed a jumper and Miller got the rebound. The sophomore missed a layup and this time Daugherty pulled down the miss and hit a jumper in the key for a 61-58 Ashland lead. Tech got to within three points one more time, with 6:18 left. Moments later Stutzman was good from three-point distance and the Ashland lead was 66-60. Tech could get no closer than six points the rest of the game.
Tech is the GLIAC leader in scoring defense and contests just about every shot. That makes the fact that AU shot 51.7 percent (31-of-60) from the floor in the game, and 53.3 percent (16-of-30) in the second half, even more impressive. Ashland also had just four turnovers in the second half.
"We took quality shots and we weren't shooting many threes, we only shot 12," pointed out Ramsey.
AU defeated Ferris State, 66-56 on Feb. 11. That's the only time the teams have met this season. This is AU's fifth trip to the tournament championship game. A year ago Ashland lost to Tech in the tournament title game, 63-53.
(Release courtesy of the TU Sports
[Click here for FSU-TU Box Score]Tiffin University's record-setting women's basketball season likely came to a close after a heartbreaking 53-39 loss to second-seeded Ferris State in the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals.
The Bulldogs responded over the final 4:00 on a 10-1 run that gave them a 30-20 halftime lead. The Dragons still had a chance to bounce back in the second half but Ferris State continued their dominance inside, outrebounding TU 48-30 and holding a 22-8 scoring edge inside.
Tiffin held a commanding 22-7 edge in turnovers but the poor shooting did not allow the Dragons to capitalize on the miscues. Mandy Jaeb was held scoreless for the first time in her four-year career as only one Dragons player reached double figures.
Jessica Harris finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, continuing her strong play over the last month. Jennifer Johnston hit two three pointers to finish with 6 points. Amanda Baute had 5 points and 4 rebounds.