No. 1 AU Women Start GLIAC Tourney With Home Win

No. 1 AU Women Start GLIAC Tourney With Home Win


THE TURNING POINT: Leading 48-34 early in the third quarter, Ashland went on a 12-3 run to pull away.

STAT OF THE GAME: Eagle junior forward Andi Daugherty scored 22 points to move into a tie for seventh place on the program's all-time scoring list (1,370).

The Eagles started the postseason the way they played the entire regular season.

In a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal on Tuesday (Feb. 28) night at Kates Gymnasium, the No. 1-ranked Ashland University women's basketball team defeated Walsh for the third time in 2016-17, 91-63, to move on to and play host to the GLIAC Tournament Final Four on Saturday (March 4) and Sunday (March 5).

Ashland, the only undefeated women's or men's basketball team in NCAA Division II, is 29-0, extending its school-record consecutive wins streak to start a campaign. Walsh's season ends at 15-13.

"I just thought we played really hard," said Eagle head coach Robyn Fralick, now 60-2 as a head coach. "With the way Walsh defends, there's just not as much space. As long as we can pressure and run and really consistently run, that's such a big part of our identity."

The Eagles' current 29-game winning streak is four wins shy of the program record of 33 set from Nov. 13, 2011-March 21, 2012. 

Junior forward Andi Daugherty led all scorers with 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field, and added seven rebounds. The 22 points represent her second-highest total in a GLIAC Tournament game, trailing only the 23 at home against the Cavaliers a year ago.

"It's always fun to get a tournament game under your belt," Daugherty said, "especially now that we get to host. We just played really hard, and that just trumps everything."

Daugherty also tied Jodi Dobransky-Campbell for seventh place on Ashland's all-time scoring list with 1,370 career points.

Sophomore guard Maddie Dackin came off the bench for 16 points, four rebounds and three steals, while senior guard Kelsey Peare added 13 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals.

"I'm really proud of the team. We played really hard," Peare said. "I think that's the thing that stuck out most tonight. We put everything out on the court."

Freshman guard/forward Sara Loomis (11) and freshman guard Jodi Johnson (10) rounded out five Eagles in double-digit scoring.

Ashland hit 10 3-pointers, tying a program GLIAC Tournament single-game record, and dished out 29 assists, setting a new AU GLIAC Tournament standard. The Eagles also had a decided 48-32 rebounding advantage.

"We knew coming in that that's a big strength of theirs," Fralick said of Walsh on the boards. "We also knew, with (junior forward) Laina (Snyder) being out that that's something as a team we need to focus in on."

The Eagles also forced 22 turnovers, turning those into 28 points.

For Walsh, Alex Hochstedler led the way with 16 points and five steals.

Ashland is 3-0 all-time against Walsh in the GLIAC Tournament. The Eagles also are 14-1 all-time in the GLIAC Tournament at Kates Gymnasium.

UP NEXT: The Eagles will host the Final Four this weekend. Ashland will play Michigan Tech (20-7) on Saturday at 2 p.m. "Hosting, you've got to earn it," Fralick said, "and when you can earn it, it's the reward for the course of a season. I'm really proud of them and really excited."