With the middle of February at hand, the end of the 2016-17 regular season for Ashland University's women's and men's basketball and men's and women's indoor track and field teams is in sight.
Some of the things to watch for in Eagle Nation this week are the first official Midwest Region rankings in women's and men's basketball on Wednesday (Feb. 15), the final regular-season tune-up in indoor track and field prior to the 2017 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships and the return of women's tennis to the courts for the start of the spring season.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL (LINK) – The only undefeated women's basketball team in NCAA Division II, Ashland (25-0 overall, 17-0 GLIAC) will look to clinch its second straight regular-season conference championship and the top seed in the 2017 GLIAC Tournament during a split home-road week.
The Eagles, leading second-place Saginaw Valley State by 2½ games with three games to play, will play host to Walsh (13-11, 9-8) on Thursday (Feb. 16) at 5:30 p.m., then travel to Findlay (12-13, 6-11) on Saturday (Feb. 18) at 1 p.m.
ONE TO WATCH: Senior guard Alex Henning is hitting a team-high 60.4 percent from the floor and averaging 6.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
MEN'S BASKETBALL (LINK) – The Eagles (15-8, 10-7), winners of eight of their last 10 games, could clinch a third consecutive GLIAC Tournament berth this week. Ashland is two games ahead of GLIAC South Division No. 4 Walsh with three games to play (the top three teams in each division and two wild cards qualify for the conference tournament), and is a half-game behind the trio of Lake Superior State, Wayne State and Grand Valley State for the final GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal slot.
A split home-road week is on tap for the Eagles, as they play host to the Cavaliers (15-9, 8-9) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and go to Findlay (19-5, 13-4) on Saturday at 3 p.m.
ONE TO WATCH: In his first collegiate start at home against Lake Erie on Thursday (Feb. 9), freshman center Drew Noble had 13 points and nine rebounds while hitting 5-of-6 from the field and 3-of-3 from the free-throw line.
INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD (LINK) – Ashland's No. 1-ranked men and No. 14-ranked women will split up for the second weekend in a row, going to both the OSU Open on Friday (Feb. 17) and the Kent Tune Up on Saturday.
The Eagle men and women come into the final weekend prior to the GLIAC Championships with a total of five automatic and 35 provisional marks for 2017 Division II indoor nationals, March 10-11 in Birmingham, Ala.
ONE TO WATCH: Freshman Paul Murray is a member of both the No. 3-ranked men's 4x400 relay team (3:12.59) and the No. 4-ranked men's distance medley relay squad (9:47.98).
WOMEN'S TENNIS (LINK) – The Eagles will begin a month-long spring season on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Oberlin. Ashland's spring schedule includes two road matches in February, five matches in South Carolina in March and a Senior Day home match on March 18 vs. Mount Vernon Nazarene.
ONE TO WATCH: Freshman Brianna Brdicka earned 2016 All-GLIAC honorable mention following her first collegiate fall campaign.