THE TURNING POINT: Ashland led 65-52 late in the third quarter, then ran off nine straight points to pull away.
STAT OF THE GAME: Eagle senior guard Kelsey Peare scored a career-high 24 points, hitting eight 3-point field goals – one short of the school single-game record.
Another day, another 100-point game and two more program records for Ashland University's women's basketball team.
The No. 1-ranked Eagles set a new program record with their 25th consecutive win to begin the 2016-17 season on Thursday (Feb. 9) night at Kates Gymnasium, thanks to a 111-70 victory over Lake Erie. Ashland is 25-0 overall and 17-0 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and moves one step closer to a second consecutive GLIAC regular-season championship.
"It's just a testament to this team and their consistency, their ability to work and their ability to just stay present," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick. "It's a great record, but yet it just seems really peripheral, in the whole scheme of us focusing on consistent improvement."
The Storm are 7-16, 5-12.
The second school mark Ashland broke on Thursday was hitting 17 3-point field goals. The Eagles were 17-of-28 from beyond the arc.
Senior guard Kelsey Peare nearly tied yet another program standard in scoring a career-high 24 points. Peare, who moved into a tie for fourth place on Ashland's all-time games played list with 118, was 8-for-12 from 3-point range.
"It felt good," said Peare. "I had some great passes from my teammates."
Ashland finished the game shooting 55.4 percent from the field, including 70 percent in the second half. The Eagles posted 33 assists on 36 made field goals (eight players had at least three), and turned 24 Lake Erie turnovers into 34 points.
Kayla Gabor led the way for the Storm with 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals.
The Eagles set the tone early, keeping the Storm scoreless for the first 3:21 of the game. Leading 8-7 just out of the first media timeout, Ashland outscored Lake Erie 17-2 for the remainder of the opening quarter – thanks in large part to six 3-point field goals, four by Peare.
Ashland's run extended into the second quarter, and by the time the barrage of Eagle field goals and Storm turnovers came to an end, the lead was extended to 45-26 at the half. Lake Erie turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 23 AU points.
Peare hit six triples at the break.
The Eagles ran out to a 59-38 lead halfway through the third quarter, but the Storm chipped away at their deficit, getting it to 13 points at 65-52 prior to Ashland scoring the period's last seven points.
Leading by 20 going into the fourth, the only drama for Ashland would be if it could hit the 100-point mark for the ninth time this season. The Eagles did when freshman guard/forward Sara Loomis hit their 15th triple of the game.
Ashland, which has clinched a home 2017 GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal game on Feb. 28, began the day as one of only two NCAA Division II undefeated women's basketball teams. This is the first time in program history with three consecutive seasons of at least 25 wins.
The Eagles have won a program-record 38 straight regular-season games at Kates Gymnasium, and are 107-16 (.870) at "The Kates" this decade.
UP NEXT: The first set of Division II Midwest Regional rankings on Wednesday (Feb. 15). The next game is Thursday, Feb. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at home against Walsh (12-11, 8-8).