COLUMBUS, Ohio – Coaches despise moral victories.
They are, however, easier to take in exhibition games.
At Value City Arena in the Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University on Sunday (Nov. 6) afternoon, Ashland University's women's basketball team lost an 88-79 exhibition decision to the Buckeyes. The Eagles are ranked No. 5 in NCAA Division II, while OSU is No. 7 in Division I.
"Ohio State is an excellent team," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick. "They had a great season last year, probably going to be even better this year. What we talked about in the locker room after the game was, what we were most proud of as a staff is we controlled the controllables. We played with great effort, we played with great attitude and we did a good job executing the details we had gone over."
Junior forward Andi Daugherty led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-18 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line, junior forward Laina Snyder posted 14 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and two steals and senior guard Kelsey Peare knocked down five 3-point field goals on the way to 15 points.
Ashland took its first lead, 10-9, on a Daugherty 3-pointer at the 7:18 mark of the first quarter. Prior to that, the game had seen three early tie scores.
Later in the first, another triple, this one by Peare, put the Eagles up by two at 15-13, then junior forward Julie Worley's jumper gave AU the lead once again at 17-15.
By the end of the opening stanza, Ohio State led 26-21 thanks to an 8-3 run, but there were six tied scores and eight lead changes in the game's first 10 minutes.
Early in the second quarter, the Buckeyes extended their lead to 33-21, but the Eagles answered with seven consecutive points. After OSU countered with eight straight points of its own, its lead was 41-28, forcing an AU timeout.
At the half, Ohio State led Ashland, 47-36, and the difference was the Buckeyes' height and length. OSU had six blocked shots and forced 12 Eagle turnovers in the first and second quarters combined.
A triple by freshman guard Jodi Johnson to begin the third quarter got the deficit down to single digits, then another trey from Peare made it a 50-42 game 2½ minutes into the second half. Daugherty followed with a layup to cut the Eagle deficit to six.
Ashland eventually cut its deficit to 50-45, finishing off a 9-3 run to begin the third. Ohio State, however, ended the third quarter on a 14-4 run to lead 64-49 going into the fourth.
The Buckeyes led 71-54 with 8:13 to play, but the Eagles started to chip away once more, getting the deficit down to 10 at 73-63, then Peare's fifth triple of the game made it a 76-68 OSU advantage.
Senior guard Rachelle Morrison nailed a 3 at the top of the circle to make it 80-73, then Daugherty got the margin to six (82-76) with three free throws. The Eagles, however, could get no closer.
Ashland came away with 47-38 rebounding advantage, and hit 11-of-14 from the foul line. Ohio State, however, blocked nine shots and forced 19 turnovers.
"They're very big and very, very lengthy, which is why they're a preseason Top 10 team in the country in Division I," Fralick said. "What an experience. What our mentality was going in, play with enthusiasm and without fear, and I thought our kids did that really well."
UP NEXT: The 2016-17 season opener on Friday (Nov. 11) at 11 a.m. at Kates Gymnasium against Cedarville in the 2016 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference/Great Midwest Athletic Conference Exempt Tournament.