THE TURNING POINT: Ashland outscored Notre Dame College 25-11 in the third quarter to pull away and improve to 11-0.
SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio – In its first game as the top-ranked team in NCAA Division II since Feb. 16, 2013, Ashland University's women's basketball team outscored Notre Dame College 56-26 in the second half on the way to a 92-55 victory on Wednesday (Dec. 14) night.
The Eagles are 11-0 overall, tying for the fifth-best start in program history. The Falcons are 2-6.
"The biggest difference between the first half and the second half was we just played a lot harder," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick. "We played with a lot more energy, a lot more focus, and that set the tone. In the first half, our focus and our effort was not where we needed it to be."
Junior forward Laina Snyder led the Ashland effort with 20 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots and four steals.
Senior guard Alex Henning chipped in with a career-high seven steals and four assists in the victory.
Ashland shot 49.3 percent from the field, 58.8 percent in the second half. The Eagles forced 30 turnovers and turned them into 33 points.
The final statistics look like any other game for the Eagles in 2016-17, but the manner in which they were compiled was different than any other game to date this season.
Ashland had trouble extricating itself from NDC in the game's early going, leading 8-6 halfway through the first quarter, then 10-8 later. The Eagles went into the second quarter with a 20-15 advantage, but that lead was whittled down to 21-20 in the stanza's first two minutes.
Junior forward Julie Worley allowed Ashland to pull away with three quick points for a four-point lead, then a Peare jumper moved the AU lead to 26-20. The Falcons weren't going away, however, trailing 31-27 late in the first half prior to going into the halftime break down 36-29.
A Snyder layup inside of the 8-minute mark of the third quarter gave the Eagles their first double-digit lead at 41-31, then Peare scored Ashland's next 11 points to push the advantage to 56-35 with 4:30 left in the third.
By the time the third quarter was over, Ashland boasted a 61-40 lead, as both Snyder and Peare each scored 11 points in the period. The Eagles eventually worked their lead to 72-40 en route to victory, ending a 13-0 streak that spilled over into the final period.
"It was a good lesson learned," Fralick said. "What was great is, in the second half, we played the way we need to play."
UP NEXT: Saturday (Dec. 17) at 3 p.m. at Ferris State (2-7 overall, 2-2 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference).