THE TURNING POINT: Ashland outscored Cedarville 37-10 in the second quarter.
STAT OF THE GAME: The Eagles, who tied for the NCAA Division II lead in assists per game in 2015-16, had 25 assists on 33 field goals.
The No. 5-ranked Ashland University women's basketball team got the 2016-17 season off on the right foot on Friday (Nov. 11) afternoon, defeating Cedarville, 91-45, in the first game of the 2016 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference/Great Midwest Athletic Conference Exempt Tournament at Kates Gymnasium.
"The first game of the year, you literally have no idea what to expect," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick. "You can have an expectation for your own team, you just don't know. It's a big unknown this time of year."
Ashland has won 90 of its last 101 games at Kates Gymnasium, including 26 in a row in the regular season. The Eagles, who came into the game as the winningest Division II program over the previous five seasons (144 wins), are 40-2 in their last 42 regular-season games.
Junior forward Andi Daugherty led all scorers with 20 points in 23 minutes, shooting 7-of-9 from the field and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line. Junior forward Laina Snyder posted 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and five steals, while senior guard Kelsey Peare added 14 points on a 4-for-4 effort from the 3-point line.
"I made it a point to really work on that shot," Peare, who also had two assists, said of the triples. "I always try to give up the good shot for the great shot. If I see them (the forwards) open, I give them the ball."
"She (Peare) shot it very, very well. Last year, she was a consistent shooter," Fralick said. "She's put in a lot of work, and it shows."
Snyder is six points away from becoming the 18th player in program history to join the 1,000-point club.
In her first collegiate game and start, freshman guard Jodi Johnson made it four Eagles in double-digit scoring with 11 points, and added five rebounds and four assists. Off the bench, junior forward Julie Worley fell a point short of a double-double (nine points, team-high 10 rebounds) in just 18 minutes.
Ashland had 25 assists on 33 field goals, and outrebounded the Yellow Jackets, 47-38. Every Eagle had at least one helper, led by freshman guard Renee Stimpert's five.
"So much of what we do is based on ball movement," Fralick said. "One of our non-negotiables is great ball movement. It's something we really emphasize."
The Eagles also forced 29 Cedarville turnovers, which resulted in 34 points.
Ashland started the game on a 12-2 run, then withstood a 9-0 Cedarville charge. A 37-point second quarter set the tone for the remainder of the contest.
"In the second quarter, we hit some threes, and that's when Kelsey got hot," Fralick said. "We just did a good job forcing turnovers and converting them."
In Game 2 of the Exempt Tournament, Ohio Dominican topped Alderson Broaddus, 82-35.
UP NEXT: The continuation of the 2016 GLIAC/GMAC Exempt Tournament on Saturday (Nov. 12) at 6 p.m. against Alderson Broaddus.