#EagleNation Spotlight – Senior Trio’s Shot To Go Out On Top

#EagleNation Spotlight – Senior Trio’s Shot To Go Out On Top


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Their Ashland University careers began on Nov. 14, 2014 – a 74-65 loss to Cedarville.

In the 1,224 days that have followed, there haven't been many defeats that followed for senior forwards Laina Snyder, Andi Daugherty and Julie Worley.

The members of the most successful and most decorated recruiting class in Eagle women's basketball history, Snyder, Daugherty and Worley will play their final games in the Purple and Gold in the NCAA Division II National Championship Game on Friday (March 23) at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central in the Sanford Pentagon vs. Central Missouri.

"When you see people work hard and buy into a culture," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick, "and set the tone for competing the right way and working the right way, things like that happen. I'm just happy for them, because they've made this possibility a reality."

What they have accomplished – both individually and as part of the team – since that initial game more than three years ago has been impressive.

- In the four seasons they have been on the roster, Ashland has won 129 games, three Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships, two Midwest Regional titles and a national championship.

- Snyder will end her career as the program's leader in points (2,279), rebounds (1,198) and steals (368), and enters Friday night's game having scored the 25th-most points in the history of Division II women's basketball. Last season's Elite Eight Most Outstanding Player, Snyder is a three-time Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-American (twice first-team), a two-time College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-American and the 2016-17 GLIAC Player of the Year.

And, in her next-to-last collegiate game on Wednesday (March 21) vs. Indiana, Pa., she recorded 23 points and 20 rebounds – just the seventh 20-20 game in program history.

"She's always been very athletic and (has) a big motor and can just make plays, but her skill level has increased significantly from her freshman year," said Fralick. "And she's put in the work for that."

- Daugherty reached the 2,000-point plateau on Wednesday vs. the Crimson Hawks, and will finish as one of the program's best in points (2,009), rebounds (919), assists (398), field-goal percentage (53.0) and free-throw percentage (80.8). She is the only student-athlete in Ashland College/University athletics history to earn three Academic All-American awards, and is the only player in program history with four spots on the All-GLIAC Academic Team.

With seven more points on Friday night, Daugherty also will become the first player in program history with three 500-point seasons.

"I'd say skill level, too," Fralick said of what Daugherty has improved on the most in four years. "She came in, could rebound and guard and (was) versatile, but the way she's learned how to score inside-out and pass have really improved."

Both Snyder and Daugherty will set a new D-II women's hoops standard on Friday night by playing in their 138th career game.

- Worley is the program's standard-bearer when it comes to production off the bench, scoring 1,003 career games despite starting just seven times in her career. Routinely coming in to score a point per minute or better in a game, Worley earned Ashland athletics' second NCAA Elite 90 Award for having the highest cumulative grade-point average at the Elite Eight on Sunday (March 18) night in a pre-tournament banquet.

Heading into her Eagle finale on Friday, Worley has made 56.5 percent of her shots from the floor and 76.5 percent of her foul shots in 134 games.

"Julie's the ultimate teammate," said Fralick. "She's always put the team first. She's always done what the team's needed. Playing in the same position as two other All-Americans in her class, and being a 1,000-point scorer…when her opportunity's come, she's always been ready for it."

So what will Fralick remember her prolific senior trio for?

"Work ethic," she said. "They're workers, and that's really set the tone for what our program's been about. For as talented as they are, they are incredibly hard workers, and they improved every year.

"I don't think things are compartmentalized when they're done well, so being a hard worker, being a good teammate, thinking about others, all of those things I see them do on the court, I see them do in their life. And that's really rewarding to watch as a coach."