THE TURNING POINT: Ashland went on a 13-0 second-quarter run to take the lead and not give it up.
STAT OF THE GAME: After trailing 19-15 after one quarter, the Eagles outscored the Lakers in the second and third quarters combined by a 51-21 count.
The No. 3-ranked Ashland University women's basketball team will go into Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play undefeated, as the Eagles improved to 6-0 following an 85-59 win over Mercyhurst (5-1) on Sunday (Nov. 27) afternoon in the second and final day of the 2016 Holiday Inn Express Tournament at Kates Gymnasium.
"Mercyhurst is a very good team. They have five senior starters, and that's pretty unique to have so much experience," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick. "They came out and played really hard and competed and made shots, and we didn't come out with the level of intensity and energy we needed to start the game.
"But I was proud of the way we responded, and I thought we fought back."
This is the second consecutive season the Eagles have started at least 6-0 (they won the first 21 games in 2015-16), and the 10th time in program history Ashland has won at least the first six games of a campaign.
In the last five days, junior forward Laina Snyder has gone from 18th on Ashland's all-time scoring list to 15th. On Sunday, Snyder (1,087) passed DeAndria Bethune to move into 15th following 12 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists.
Six Eagles scored in double figures – junior forward Andi Daugherty (13), freshman guard Jodi Johnson (13), Snyder, sophomore guard Maddie Dackin (12), junior forward Julie Worley (11) and freshman guard/forward Sara Loomis, who posted 10 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 14 minutes.
"Yesterday, I was feeling terrible," said Loomis, who missed Saturday's (Nov. 26) game. "It felt great (today). It's really an honor to get to practice against them (Daugherty, Snyder and Worley), because it's only going to make me better in the long run."
"That's what we want. We feel like a strength of our team is depth, and we need to maximize that," Fralick said. "Our bench had a really good game tonight."
Ashland shot 50 percent from the field, and racked up 26 assists on 34 field goals. The Eagles also outrebounded the Lakers, 43-32, and turned the ball over just 13 times.
Mercyhurst took the lead at 10-9 in the first quarter and led 21-15 early in the second quarter before Ashland went on a 13-0 run to take a 28-21 advantage. The Eagles led by as many as 13 points before going into the break up 41-29.
AU ran its lead up to 27 points on two occasions in the third quarter, and had a 66-40 advantage going into the fourth.
"We realized how hard we needed to play," Fralick said. "When we figured that out…it was a turning point in the game."
Ashland has won 94 of its last 105 (.895) games at Kates Gymnasium, and has run its regular-season non-conference home winning streak to 11 games.
At the beginning of the week, the Eagles had the most wins (147) and the second-best winning percentage (.865) in NCAA Division II since the start of the 2011-12 season.
In Sunday's first game, Hillsdale defeated Slippery Rock, 68-63.
UP NEXT: The start of GLIAC play on Thursday (Dec. 1) at 5:30 p.m. at Lake Superior State (1-5).
ALL-TIME ASHLAND UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S BASKETBALL STARTS OF AT LEAST 6-0
YEAR MOST WINS WITHOUT A LOSS TO START