Saturday (Dec. 1) afternoon at Kates Gymnasium was a time to reflect on tradition – and then build upon it.
After recognizing the 2017-18 NCAA Division II national finalist team with a pre-game ring ceremony, the No. 1-ranked Ashland University women's basketball team topped Ferris State, 94-60, on Saturday. The Eagles stayed undefeated in the early 2018-19 going at 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while the Bulldogs move to 4-3, 1-1.
Saturday's victory was Ashland's 800th all-time, making it the 15th D-II women's hoops program to win at least that many. It also was the Eagles' 44th consecutive victory at "The Kates," tying the team record originally set from Feb. 3, 2011-Nov. 9, 2013.
Ashland head coach Kari Pickens was a player on the team which originally won 44 straight, and has been on the coaching staff for the entirety of the current streak, which started on Nov. 11, 2016.
"It's been a great start to the season, and a great start to conference play," Pickens said. "I don't know if we necessarily emphasize playing at home. We love playing at home. Our girls love the Eagle gym, that's for sure. It is fun to be able to play in front of this community."
Said junior point guard Renee Stimpert, "It didn't start with us. It's a tradition. Nobody likes to lose, so it's fun to win."
THE TOP TEN
1. Junior guard/forward Jodi Johnson tied her career high by scoring 31 points on Saturday, and that moved her into 10th place on Ashland's all-time scoring list with 1,281 career points. Johnson was 10-of-14 from the field and 9-of-9 from the free-throw line, while adding seven rebounds, three assists and five steals.
2. Senior guard Brooke Smith followed with a season-high-tying dozen points on 4-of-6 from 3-point range.
3. Two Eagles – junior forward Sara Loomis and Stimpert – scored 10 points each. Stimpert posted her second consecutive 10-point, 10-assist game, and has 40 helpers in the last four outings.
4. Ashland shot 56.3 percent from the field – the third consecutive game the Eagles were at least at 54.9 percent. The Eagles also were 15-for-15 from the free-throw line, marking the second time this season AU was perfect from the charity stripe.
5. Defensively, Ashland forced 30 turnovers and turned them into 38 points. Its 19 steals were a season best.
6. The Bulldogs scored the game's first five points, forcing an AU timeout 2:10 into the game. By the end of the first period, however, the Eagles led 21-12, making eight of their last 11 shots from the field in the stanza.
7. At the half, Ashland led 48-27, thanks to a field-goal percentage of 58.8, and a defense which forced 18 turnovers.
8. By the end of the third quarter, the Eagles boasted a 76-39 lead, and Johnson already had tied her career-high point total. Ashland scored the quarter's first seven points en route to that advantage.
9. During halftime, 98 teddy bears were collected in the AU athletic program's first Teddy Bear Toss, benefitting Associated Charities and the Salvation Army.
10. Guard Adrienne Anderson paced Ferris State with a team-high 12 points.
Ashland will play its first road GLIAC road game of the new season on Thursday (Dec. 6) at 6 p.m. at No. T-16 Grand Valley State.