THE TURNING POINT: Ashland went on an early 16-0 first-quarter run and didn't look back.
STAT OF THE GAME: The Eagles extend their school record for most consecutive games to start a season with at least 85 points to nine.
Games between two nationally-ranked basketball teams rarely end up the way Thursday (Dec. 8) night's did.
The No. 2-ranked Ashland University women's basketball team defeated No. 24 Saginaw Valley State, 101-50, on Thursday night at Kates Gymnasium. Thursday's victory puts the Eagles at 9-0 overall and 3-0 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and extends their sixth-best start in program history.
"Saginaw's really good. There's a reason they're ranked 24th," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick, who has started her head coaching career at 40-2 overall. "I thought we played really well tonight. We set the tone early with the way we guarded. And we shot it well.
"I thought we had a good, overall balanced effort on both ends of the court."
Ashland also has won 31 consecutive regular-season home games, one shy of the program record of 32 set from Feb. 3, 2011-Nov. 9, 2013. The Eagles have won 88 of their last 97 games (.907) at Kates Gymnasium.
The Cardinals are 6-2, 2-1.
As has been the custom early in the season, Ashland had five players score in double figures, led by senior guard Kelsey Peare's career-high 21 points. Peare also posted six rebounds and six assists in the victory.
"It's the best – the team, the coaches. I wouldn't trade it for anything," said Peare, the top 3-point shooter in NCAA Division II coming into the game who hit 5-of-7 from downtown on Thursday night. "Hitting shots, it's definitely fun. The passes are right on. I'm just glad I can score and help the team."
"Kelsey's been playing excellent, and she's playing excellent because she works really hard on her game," Fralick said.
Junior forward Laina Snyder added 19 points and 10 rebounds for her 32nd career double-double. With 1,132 career points, Snyder passed Catherine Portyrata for 14th place on Ashland's all-time scoring list.
Junior forward Andi Daugherty had 13 points to go with five rebounds and four assists, and with 1,076 career points, passed Alyssa Miller for 17th place on the program's all-time list.
Ashland shot 51.3 percent from the floor, 43.5 percent from 3-point range and 81.3 percent from the free-throw line. The Eagles also had 31 assists on 39 field goals, and turned 26 Cardinal turnovers into 33 points.
AU's defense kept SVSU to 31.4-percent shooting from the field and 2-for-11 from 3-point range, and the Eagles had a decided 49-30 rebounding advantage.
Leading 5-4 early, Ashland went on a 16-0 run to begin the pull-away. The Eagles boasted leads of 30-9 after the first quarter and 54-15 at halftime en route to the win.
The Eagles came into the week having won the most games (152) and having the second-best cumulative winning percentage (.869) of any NCAA Division II women's basketball program since the start of the 2011-12 season.
UP NEXT: Saturday (Dec. 10) at 1 p.m. at home against Wayne State (4-4, 2-1).