THE TURNING POINT: A layup by Jodi Johnson put Ashland up 69-68 with 8:49 to play, and the Eagles led the rest of the way.
STAT OF THE GAME: Eagle junior forward Laina Snyder passed Alanna Buurma into 10th place on Ashland's all-time scoring list (1,248 points).
It's a new year, but the same winning – and a new record – for the No. 1-ranked Ashland University women's basketball team.
The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division-leading Eagles returned home to Kates Gymnasium for the first time in almost a month on Thursday (Jan. 5) night, earning an 82-75 win over North tri-leader Michigan Tech. Ashland is 15-0 overall and 7-0 in the GLIAC, while the Huskies are 8-3, 4-2.
"We got some good experience," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick. "We made enough plays tonight. We got stops. We made our free throws down the stretch. Now, we've got to play with a little more energy and effort on the defensive end to start the game.
"They're a good team. They're disciplined. They're skilled. They shot it really, really well, and we found a way to beat a good team tonight."
Ashland's win gives it a new program record for consecutive regular-season home victories with 33. The streak began on Dec. 19, 2014, and breaks the previous mark of 32 in a row set from Feb. 3, 2011-Nov. 9, 2013.
The Eagles have won 90 of their last 99 (.909) home games overall. They also are on the verge of tying another home winning streak, having won 23 GLIAC regular-season home contests in a row (program record is 26).
Junior forward Laina Snyder scored a team-high 22 points to move into 10th place on Ashland's all-time scoring list with 1,248, passing Alanna Buurma. Snyder added 10 rebounds for her 34th career double-double, and she is eight boards away from tying Buurma for fifth place on AU's career list.
Junior forward Andi Daugherty, the reigning U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) NCAA Division II women's basketball national Player of the Week and GLIAC South Player of the Week, added 14 points, four rebounds and three assists. Freshman guard Jodi Johnson added 12 points, while senior guard Alex Henning chipped in with 10 points, three rebounds and three helpers on her birthday.
Ashland was 23-for-28 from the free-throw line, and survived 10 Husky 3-point field goals.
Tech went out to a 17-9 lead in the first 5:02 of the game, then Ashland began to peck away at its deficit. Trailing 26-20 early in the second quarter, the Eagles went on a 13-3 run to go ahead 33-29 with 6:46 to go until halftime.
A Snyder jumper at the second-quarter buzzer tied her with Buurma on Ashland's all-time scoring list, and allowed Ashland to go into the break leading 47-43.
The Eagles extended their lead to 51-43 early in the third quarter, but the Huskies responded with a 13-5 stretch to tie the game at 56. Following the game's 11th tie, Ashland had a slim 67-66 lead heading into the fourth.
Johnson's layup at the 8:49 mark put Ashland ahead 69-68, and the Eagles didn't trail the rest of the way. AU hit its last four free throws in the final 21 seconds of the game with the contest still in doubt.
Ashland came into the game with the most wins (158) and best winning percentage (.873) in NCAA Division II since the start of the 2011-12 season. The 15-0 start is the program's third-best all-time, trailing only 2012-13 (24-0) and 2015-16 (21-0).
UP NEXT: Home against Northern Michigan on Saturday (Jan. 7) at 1 p.m. It will be Upward Basketball Day at Kates Gymnasium.