No. 5 Eagles Start 2016-17 With Home Exempt Tourney

No. 5 Eagles Start 2016-17 With Home Exempt Tourney

PDF LINK TO WEEK 1 GAME NOTES

Opening Tip

The No. 5-ranked Ashland University women's basketball team will open the 2016-17 season by hosting a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference/Great Midwest Athletic Conference exempt tournament on Nov. 11-12 at Kates Gymnasium.

The Eagles, 31-2 with GLIAC regular-season and tournament championships in 2015-16, will play Cedarville (22-8) on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., then take on Alderson Broaddus (8-20) on Nov. 12 at 6 p.m.

The tournament starts a November in which the Eagles have five of their first six games at home. Ashland is 89-11 in its last 100 games at Kates Gymnasium.

Ashland has the most wins of any NCAA Division II women's basketball program over the last five seasons (144), and the Eagles' .862 winning percentage (144-23) since 2011-12 is the second-best in the country.

Ashland's two-day, four-game exempt tournament also will feature Ohio Dominican vs. Alderson Broaddus on Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. and ODU vs. Cedarville on Nov. 12 at 8 p.m.

 

No. 5 Ashland Tips Off 2016-17 Season With Two At Home

Ashland begins the new campaign with two games at home, and will play five of its six November contests in Kates Gymnasium.

"It's a really fun time of year," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick. "We've had our three preseason games, and now, they all count. Just really excited moving forward. There's still things we're trying to figure out as we go, but the biggest thing that sticks out to me about it is we've got great leadership, and we've got kids that really like each other and are playing hard."

The Eagles return 78 percent of their points and 73.6 percent of their minutes from a 31-2 team in 2015-16. Leading the charge are Ashland's two returning All-Americans, junior forwards Andi Daugherty (15.9 ppg., 7.6 rpg., 2.6 apg., 1.3 spg., 53.1 FG%, 79.5 FT%) and Laina Snyder (15.1 ppg., 9.2 rpg., 2.3 apg., 3.1 spg., 48.7 FG%, 76.4 FT%).

"They both came back improved. They both came back stronger," said Fralick. "You can't teach experience. You can't teach playing in big moments in big games, and they've both had that throughout their careers. I'm excited to see what they both are capable of doing."

Ashland returns two senior starting guards, Alex Henning (8.3 ppg., 4.5 rpg., 3.4 apg.) and Kelsey Peare (6.5 ppg., 2.8 rpg., 2.5 apg., 70.6 FT%), as the Eagles will have four-fifths of their previous starting lineup intact.

"They both have very clear strengths, and they've gotten a lot of experience over the course of their careers," Fralick said. "There's something about being a senior. Time flies. There's something special about that."

Freshman guard Jodi Johnson rounds out the starting lineup.

"What she's shown to us early in the season is that she's got a consistency about her. She does a lot of things well," said Fralick. "She's done a really good job early. We've been excited with what she's doing."

The Eagle bench is led by a player who would be a frontrunner for a GLIAC Sixth Player of the Year award, if there were such a thing - junior forward Julie Worley (8.5 ppg., 4.1 rpg., 58.6 FG%, 74.3 FT%).

Also up front off the bench is freshman Sara Loomis.

Providing significant depth in the backcourt are senior Rachelle Morrison (1.6 ppg.), sophomores Maddie Dackin (3.4 ppg.) and Brooke Smith (2.1 ppg.) and freshmen Renee Stimpert and Baylee Kuhlwein.

"Championships are won by teams," Fralick said. "They're not won by players. They're not won by great individual performances. They're won by teams throughout the season. Whatever your role is on that night, whether it's tangible box score numbers or intangible leadership, intangible enthusiasm, it's all important.

"If we do the things we want to do, it will absolutely take a team effort throughout the whole year."

 

Ashland Vs. Cedarville And Alderson Broaddus

This will be the fourth consecutive season the Eagles open with Cedarville.

"They're always a top team in our region, they're a top D-II team in the state of Ohio," Fralick said. "We have a lot of respect for their program, for the players in their program. It's always has been a tough test to start."

In 2015-16, the result was a 62-43 win at Alderson Broaddus. Snyder led the way with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Peare added 12 points. Ashland kept the Yellow Jackets to 31.7-percent shooting from the field, and had a 41-31 rebounding margin.

Also last season, Ashland defeated Alderson Broaddus, 88-65. Snyder started the season with a second straight double-double (23 points, 10 rebounds), Daugherty added 15 points and nine boards, and both guard McKenzie Miller (11) and forward Suzy Wollenhaupt (10) scored in double figures.

 

Ashland Starts At No. 5 In WBCA Poll

Ashland is ranked No. 5 in the 2016-17 Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) NCAA Division II Preseason Top 25 Coaches' Poll, released on Nov. 1.

This marks the fourth time in five seasons the Eagle women, who received a first-place vote, have been nationally ranked in the preseason, and it is the program's second-highest preseason ranking, behind the No. 1 spot to start the 2012-13 season.

The preseason ranking is the 53rd time Ashland has appeared in the WBCA Top 25 poll, the 37th time the Eagles have been in the Top 10 and the 30th time they have been in the Top 5. It is the 18th straight poll in which AU has appeared.

Ashland is one of two GLIAC teams in the WBCA preseason poll, along with Grand Valley State (No. 13).

 

Eagles Rise To Top Of D-II Class Of Late

Ashland has been one of Division II's top women's basketball programs in the last five years, a stretch which includes a national championship in 2013 and a national runner-up finish in 2012.

In the wins column, the Eagles lead Division II over the last five seasons:

 

SCHOOL

WON

LOST

PCT.

1. ASHLAND

144

23

.862

2. Limestone

143

20

.877

3. Bentley

136

28

.829

4. Emporia St.

133

33

.801

5. West Texas A&M

129

33

.796

 

In terms of winning percentage, the Eagles are second in the country over the last five seasons:

 

SCHOOL

WON

LOST

PCT.

1. Limestone

143

20

.877

2. ASHLAND

144

23

.862

3. Bentley

136

28

.829

4. Alaska Anchorage

118

28

.808

5. Emporia State

133

33

.801

 

"There's a lot of things that go into that. There's a lot of things that go into success," Fralick said, "and those are things we talk about all the time. To have that, and to have that behind us, those are some of the things that we can talk about when new kids come into the program."

 

Ashland Chosen For Sixth GLIAC South Title In Seven Years

Ashland was picked to win its sixth GLIAC South Division championship in seven seasons in the 2016-17 preseason poll released on Oct. 27.

The Eagles received six of seven first-place votes in the South, and 36 overall points. Walsh (28) is picked second, while Ohio Dominican (one first-place vote) and Findlay are tied for third with 25 overall points.

In the North Division, Grand Valley State leads the way with five first-place votes and 47 overall points, followed by Saginaw Valley State (two first-place votes, 45) and Michigan Tech (35).

In addition to the preseason poll, Daugherty and Snyder earned spots on the 2016-17 GLIAC preseason all-conference team in the South Division.

 

Snyder, Daugherty Steamrolling Toward 1,000 Career Points

In the first 49 seasons of Ashland women's basketball, there have been 17 players score at least 1,000 career points.

Early in the 50th season of Eagle women's basketball, there will be two more.

Snyder needs 20 points to reach 1,000, and Daugherty needs 58.

If each player has a season similar to their sophomore campaign, both Snyder and Daugherty would finish 2016-17 in the top six in program history in career points.

 

More Peering Into The Record Book

- Both Snyder (406) and Daugherty (368) can move into the top five on the program's career field goals made list this season. No. 5 on the list is current Eagle assistant coach Kari (Daugherty) Pickens at 544.

- No. 5 on the Ashland all-time rebounds list is Alanna Burrma at 756. Both Snyder (599) and Daugherty (544) have the opportunity to go into that list in 2016-17, as well.

- Snyder has 173 career steals, and needs just 53 to tie Jodi Dobransky-Campbell for fifth on that career Eagle list.

- Peare (93) and Morrison (87) each have the chance to break into the top five on AU's all-time games played list (No. 5 is 118, DeAndria Bethune and Miller). Peare would need to play 25 games in 2016-17, Morrison 31.

 

AU Looks To Keep Impressive Runs Going

Breaking down the Eagles further, here is a look at how they have done of late in various categories:

- Ashland will take a six-game regular-season winning streak into 2016-17. The Eagles are 39-2 in their last 41 regular-season contests.

- With a 14-0 home regular-season mark in 2015-16, Ashland will bring a 25-game Kates Gymnasium regular-season winning streak into the new season.

- Counting tournament games, Ashland has won 24 consecutive GLIAC contests at home.

 

Eagles Turn Halftime Leads Into Wins

The Eagles went 26-0 in 2015-16 when leading at halftime.

That should come as no surprise, since Ashland has made a habit in recent years of not only having the lead after the first 20 minutes, but finishing that off in the second half:

 

SEASON

RECORD WHEN LEADING AT HALF

2015-16

26-0

2014-15

23-2

2013-14

12-2

2012-13

35-0

2011-12

29-1

 

Eagles Lose Exhibition At Ohio State, 88-79

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 Nov. 6, Ashland 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 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."

Daugherty led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-18 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line, Snyder posted 14 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and two steals and Peare knocked down five 3-point field goals on the way to 15 points.

 

Eagles Had Lineup Consistency In 2015-16

Ashland started the same five players in every game in 2015-16. It was the first time the same five Eagles started the entire season since 2003-04 - the program's first NCAA Division II postseason team.

The records of the team's fourth returning starters in those roles follows:

 

NAME

2015-16

2014-15

2013-14

TOTAL

Andi Daugherty

31-2

25-9

 

56-11

Alex Henning

31-2

3-1

 

34-3

Kelsey Peare

31-2

20-6

13-5

64-13

Laina Snyder

31-2

21-5

 

52-7

 

Ashland Earned Shared 2015-16 D-II Team Assists Title

Ashland has been a leader in team basketball at the NCAA Division II level for many years.

Statistically, that manifested itself in 2015-16 by the Eagles tying for the national lead in assists per game with West Liberty at 19.7. Ashland received a plaque in recognition of the national statistical title.

Ashland's 2015-16 assists per game total also is a program record for a single season.

In addition to the top national ranking in assists per game, the Eagles finished 2015-16 in the top 10 in Division II in assist-to-turnover ratio (second, 1.35-to-1) and field-goal percentage (ninth, 46.4).

 

ASHLAND UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S BASKETBALL NATIONAL RANKS

IN ASSISTS PER GAME, 2011-12 TO CURRENT

SEASON

APG

D-II RANK

2015-16

19.7

T-1st

2014-15

17.4

T-8th

2013-14

15.4

T-39th

2012-13

17.7

T-3rd

2011-12

17.5

7th

 
 

AU

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