On Senior Night at Kates Gymnasium, Ashland University's senior guards each filled up the stat sheet in a 94-53 rout of Wayne State on Thursday (Feb. 28) night. The 2018-19 regular season ends with the No. 7-ranked Eagles at 26-2 overall and 18-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Dackin put up 15 points, six rebounds and four steals on Thursday night, while Smith went for 12 points, two boards and two steals.
"I'm just grateful for the experience that I was given," Smith said of playing at Ashland. "I just knew, coming into this, that it's a winning program, and I wanted to give my all for it. I love it here."
"There's no other gym in the nation that shows up like ours shows up every single night," Dackin said. "That makes the atmosphere so much more fun to play in. The community support has just been unbelievable. It's been a lot of fun."
Dackin and Smith become the winningest senior class in Ashland women's basketball history with 130 victories.
Ashland's 26 wins represent the sixth-most in a season in program history, with all of those campaigns coming since 2011-12.
THE TOP TEN
1. Ashland had five double-digit scorers against the Warriors, with junior guard/forward Jodi Johnson leading the way with 19 points. Johnson added seven rebounds in the victory, and became the fifth player in Ashland women's basketball history to go past 1,600 career points (1,615).
2. Junior forward Sara Loomis was dominant inside, finishing with a double-double – 15 points and 14 rebounds – in 27 minutes. Loomis led the way for Ashland having a decided 52-30 rebounding advantage.
3. Sophomore forward Karlee Pireu rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points, while adding five caroms. Junior guard Renee Stimpert finished with 10 assists, moving her closer to becoming the first player in program history to 600 in a career (592).
4. Ashland finished the night hitting 48 percent from the field, 39.3 percent from 3-point range and 11-of-12 free throws.
5. Defensively, the Eagles were stifling, forcing 21 turnovers and allowing Wayne State to make just 33.3 percent from the floor and 2-of-12 from beyond the arc.
"It was a phenomenal defensive performance," said Ashland head coach Kari Pickens. "We spent all week focusing on it in practice, but our girls actually put it into practice. There's a difference between focusing on it and applying it in our game, and I couldn't be more proud of the strides we took this week."
6. At the first media timeout, just 3:28 into the game, Wayne State led 6-3, and the Eagles had missed seven of their first eight field goals, and six of their first seven 3-pointers. Ashland fortunes quickly changed, however, thanks to a 20-6 run to round out the period.
"When the ball isn't going in the hoop, I think the easiest thing to do is try to get a layup, to see it go in and release the pressure," Pickens said. "The girls did a great job of coming out…it's them. I did not say anything magical."
7. The Eagles had a strong and complete second quarter, and went into the locker room at halftime leading 47-25. After that 1-for-8 start from the field and 1-for-7 beginning from beyond the arc, Ashland finished the half hitting 18-of-31 from the floor and 5-of-10 from downtown.
8. The third quarter offered more of the same, as the Eagles outscored the Warriors 29-13 and took a 76-38 lead into the final period.
9. Ashland has won nine consecutive games over Wayne State.
10. For the Warriors (13-15, 8-12), Nastassja Chambers scored a team-high 14 points, and Ja'Nae Williams added 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
A GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal home game on Tuesday (March 5) at 5:30 p.m. vs. Parkside (12-14, 10-10). It is the eighth consecutive season the Eagles have played host to a first-round conference tournament contest.