No. 1 Ashland Women Earn GLIAC Regular-Season Title

No. 1 Ashland Women Earn GLIAC Regular-Season Title

Courtesy of Dusty Sloan, Ashland Sports Information Director

THE TURNING POINT: Ashland went on a 23-0 run to end the first quarter and start the second.

STAT OF THE GAME: The Eagles have won four Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season titles in the last six seasons.

First there was the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division championship.

Then, it was becoming the last undefeated women's basketball team in NCAA Division II.

On Thursday (Feb. 16) night, it is Ashland University's women's basketball team's next step in 2016-17 – a GLIAC regular-season title.

The No. 1-ranked Eagles earned their fourth regular-season conference championship in the last six seasons on Thursday night following a 92-50 victory over Walsh at Kates Gymnasium. Ashland extends its program-record winning streak to start a season, and is 26-0 overall and 18-0 in the GLIAC. The Cavaliers are 13-12, 9-9.

"It was a good team win," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick, now 57-2 in her brief head-coaching career. "Obviously, defense is highly connected with offense, and offense is highly connected with defense, so I think when you get one of them going, it kind of gets both of them going.

"I'm proud of the team and the team effort."

The Eagles will be the No. 1 seed in the 2017 GLIAC Tournament, beginning on Feb. 28. Ashland will play host to conference tournament games as long as it is still playing.

Junior forward Andi Daugherty scored a game-high-tying 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 from the free-throw line, and in the process, moved into eighth place on Ashland's all-time scoring list with 1,315 career points.

"It's awesome," said Daugherty of the regular-season title. "Coach said success isn't an accident. We put in the work. Hopefully, there's many more to come. Right now, we're celebrating tonight, and then tomorrow, we'll be ready to focus in on Saturday."

Five Eagles scored in double figures – Daugherty, senior guard Kelsey Peare (13 points), junior center Laina Snyder (12), senior guard Alex Henning (11) and junior forward Julie Worley (11).

Snyder also had two steals, tying her with Andreas Forester for third place on Ashland's all-time steals list with 257 career.

Ashland shot 55.2 percent from the field, and posted 26 assists on 37 made field goals. Walsh turned the ball over 24 times, resulting in 26 Eagle points.

The Eagles kept the Cavaliers to 27.9-percent shooting, including 2-of-15 in the game's first 10 minutes.

For Walsh, Brooklyn Wooten led the way with 24 points.

Leading 6-5 early in the game, Ashland went on its customary blitzkrieg of buckets and forced turnovers. The Eagles fashioned a 23-0 run to end the first quarter and start the second, leading 29-5 with 9:40 to go until halftime.

At the break, Ashland led 53-20, thanks to an offense which hit 22-of-33 from the field and 6-of-11 from 3-point range, and a defense which forced 14 turnovers.

The second half was academic, with the Eagles' biggest lead of 47 points coming in the game's late stages.

Thursday's win extends Ashland's program-record home regular-season winning streaks to 39 games overall and 29 games in GLIAC play.

UP NEXT: Saturday (Feb. 18) at 1 p.m. at Findlay (13-13, 7-11).