No. 1 Ashland Women Set For Program’s Third Elite Eight

No. 1 Ashland Women Set For Program’s Third Elite Eight

PDF VERSION OF GAME NOTES

Opening Tip

There are just three more steps remaining between Ashland University's women's basketball team and a second NCAA Division II national championship in the last five seasons.

The No. 1-ranked Eagles (34-0) will begin Elite Eight play on March 21 at 6 p.m. against No. 8 seed West Texas A&M (26-8) at Alumni Hall on the campus of Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio.

A win in the quarterfinals would put Ashland in a national semifinal on March 22 at 8:30 p.m. at ODU against the winner of Harding/Queens. The Division II national championship game is slated for March 24 at 7 p.m. in Columbus.

Ashland enters the Elite Eight as the lone undefeated women's or men's basketball team in Division II. The program's all-time postseason winning percentage of .783 (18-5) is tied for the best in D-II history with North Dakota State (47-13) among programs with at least 20 games played.

 

Eagles On The Air

- Ashland's Elite Eight games will be aired live on WNCO-AM 1340, with Marty Bannister on the call.

- Ashland's Elite Eight games will be aired live on WRDL-FM 88.9, with Noah Cloonan and Tyler Lance on the call.

- The 2017 national semifinal games and championship game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.

- Head coach Robyn Fralick appears on "The Early Bird's Word" on WRDL every Friday at 8:30 a.m., and on "Inside The Huddle With Noah Cloonan" every Wednesday during the season.

 

Elite Eight Experience Of Fralick, Pickens To Guide Eagles

It's been four years since Ashland has been in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, but there is some experience remaining from the national stage.

Head coach Robyn Fralick was Ashland's associate head coach for its 2013 national title run, while assistant coach Kari Pickens was the star senior for the Eagles as they won the first team national title in school history.

"Coach Pickens being a player in the same experience, she can speak to that," Fralick said. "I've been an assistant coach in this experience, and I can speak to that."

Said Pickens, "This team is very special and unique in the fact that while they are extremely veteran, they just have such a youthful energy to them, and so in terms of telling them how to prepare, it's a little different.

"The team that I played on was very veteran. This team, there's a ton of new faces. This is their first time there, so just helping them stay focused on the game at hand, with knowing the end goal (is) in mind, is going to be the focus."

Ashland also has a bonus in that it plays at Alumni Hall once a year. The most recent time was a 90-52 win over ODU on Feb. 2, a game in which the Eagles hit 52.9 percent from the field and 82.4 percent from the foul line.

"This is a league team, so this is a gym that we play in every single year," said Fralick, "so you've got to use those things to your advantage. But also at this time year, you've got to bring it. At the end of the day, that's probably the biggest thing is you've got to bring it."

"I think it's a huge advantage," Pickens said. "Several girls have played there multiple times now. It's only an hour and 15 minutes away from here, so, hopefully, there will be a lot of purple in the stands, which also would be a huge advantage."

 

The 2017 Elite Eight – At The Tale Of The Tape

If a team reaches the Elite Eight, it deserves the trip.

There isn't one specific way to get to the national quarterfinals, as the statistics below prove. Some teams get there with offense, some with defense and some with a combination of both.

The following are all eight teams' season-long averages in nine categories, along with their NCAA Division II rankings in each. Ashland leads the nation in three of the following categories, while Columbus State is the only other Elite Eight team that is a current national leader in any of the other categories below:

 

TEAM

PPG.

PPG. DEF.

FG%

FG% DEF.

3FG%

3FG% DEF.

FT%

AST/G

AST-TO

ASHLAND

2nd (93.9)

T-99th (62.3)

1st (50.9)

T-75th (37.7)

2nd (40.5)

62nd (28.9)

T-22nd (76.6)

1st (24.6)

1st (1.63-to-1)

California Baptist

3rd (87.8)

T-214th (69.7)

6th (46.5)

T-114th (38.7)

T-11th (37.5)

157th (31.6)

7th (78.7)

4th (18.9)

T-10th (1.24-to-1)

Columbus State

16th (77.9)

29th (58.4)

T-91st (41.4)

1st (32.6)

T-271st (27.1)

T-57th (28.7)

281st (63.5)

4th (16.0)

T-62nd (0.96-to-1)

Harding

T-61st (71.6)

T-34th (58.8)

T-32nd (43.6)

5th (33.6)

T-168th (31.1)

T-64th (29.1)

T-241st (66.4)

T-10th (17.1)

17th (1.17-to-1)

Queens

T-53rd (72.1)

T-64th (60.6)

T-45th (43.0)

T-48th (36.9)

T-178th (30.8)

T-111th (30.5)

T-257th (65.4)

T-27th (15.6)

T-32nd (1.07-to-1)

Virginia Union

15th (78.3)

T-113th (62.9)

T-23rd (44.2)

7th (34.3)

T-207th (29.8)

T-67th (29.3)

T-214th (67.6)

T-48th (15.0)

T-163rd (0.79-to-1)

West Florida

T-66th (71.2)

T-70th (61.0)

T-130th (40.2)

T-14th (35.4)

T-127th (32.1)

9th (26.0)

T-197th (68.2)

T-169th (12.7)

94th (0.89-to-1)

West Texas A&M

T-53rd (72.1)

T-30th (58.6)

2nd (49.2)

T-55tH (37.2)

7th (38.0)

T-213th (33.0)

T-59th (73.8)

T-27th (15.6)

T-57th (0.97-to-1)

 

Snyder Named Midwest Player Of The Year

The impressive season turned in thus far by Ashland University junior forward/center Laina Snyder has resulted in a top regional award.

As announced on Tuesday (March 14) afternoon, Snyder is the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association (D2CCA) women's basketball Midwest Region Player of the Year, in a vote by the region's sports information directors. Both Snyder and fellow junior forward Andi Daugherty earned D2CCA first-team all-region honors, as well, for the second year in a row.

Snyder is averaging 16.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.0 steals and 1.2 blocks per game this season, while hitting 50.9 percent from the field and 79.5 percent from the free-throw line. Earlier this season, she landed All-Midwest Regional Tournament team, College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) second-team Academic All-American, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year, first-team All-GLIAC, All-GLIAC Defensive Team, CoSIDA Academic All-District and six GLIAC South Division Player of the Week honors.

Snyder is the program's second Midwest Region Player of the Year, as current assistant coach Kari (Daugherty) Pickens earned the Daktronics honor in both 2012 and 2013.

Daugherty goes for 15.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game, while shooting 54.8 percent from the floor, 37.9 percent from 3-point range and 79.8 percent from the foul line. Among her other 2016-17 awards are Midwest Regional Most Outstanding Player, GLIAC Tournament Most Valuable Player, CoSIDA second-team Academic All-American, first-team All-GLIAC, All-GLIAC Defensive Team, three GLIAC South Division Player of the Week, U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Division II Women's Basketball Player of the Week and CoSIDA Academic All-District.

 

Eagles Winning In Different Ways Of Late

Not every win can be a comfortable one.

Ashland has found that out in recent weeks.

The Eagles, the national leader in scoring margin per game at 31.6 points, have found the sledding a little rougher since the end of the regular season:

- In an 85-76 home win over Grand Valley State on March 5 in the 2017 GLIAC Tournament championship game, they had to rally from a 71-66 deficit going into the game's last five minutes. Ashland fashioned a 19-5 run to come back and win, starting with a corner 3-point field goal by senior guard Alex Henning.

- The rematch with the Lakers six days later on Saturday (March 11), in a Midwest Regional tournament semifinal, saw Ashland leading 63-58 with four minutes to go. The ensuing 14-4 run allowed the Eagles to win by a 77-62 count.

- Finally, clinging to a 45-44 lead with 2:49 to go in the third quarter of the regional tournament championship game vs. Drury on Monday (March 13), Ashland went on a 15-4 run over the next five minutes to pull away.

"Our region is loaded," said Fralick. "This time of year, you've got to bring it, and you've got to be all on the same page. I thought we had great fight. When teams made runs, I thought we showed great fight and hit back."

While the Ashland offense put up two of its lowest point totals of the season during the regional tournament, and had a cumulative field-goal percentage of 42.1, the Eagle defense stepped up in a very key spot. In the three regional wins over Malone, GVSU and Drury, Ashland allowed a total of 164 points.

Against the Pioneers, the Eagles set a new program NCAA Tournament record by allowing 17.2-percent shooting from the field.

"This time of the year, the teams we're playing are great," Fralick said. "You know you've got to guard. We know that. We've known throughout the whole season, but those games, especially, you've got to sit down and be able to get consecutive stops. And I was proud of our defense.

"Offensively, I know we scored under our average, but we're playing really good teams. You've got to work to score. We found ways to score enough."

 

Snyder, Daugherty Climbing AU Points Lists Separately, Together

Snyder and Daugherty each went past the 1,000-career-point mark earlier this season. Snyder (1,502 career points) is in fourth place all-time at Ashland, while Daugherty (1,456) is sixth.

In the 50-season history of Eagle women's basketball, only four sets of teammates whose last season of play were together have each gone past 1,000 points. Snyder and Daugherty are chasing those pairs on a different list:

 

CLASSMATES

LAST SEASON

COMBINED PTS.

Amber Rall/Catherine Portyrata

2006-07

3,210

LAINA SNYDER/ANDI DAUGHERTY

Current

2,958

Kari Daugherty/Daiva Gerbec

2012-13

2,672

Gweynn Hampel/Darla Plice

1977-78

2,518

 

Daugherty Enjoys The Bright Lights

Daugherty earned her first regional Most Outstanding Player award on the heels of her second consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player honor. In the three regional games, she posted 45 points, 24 rebounds and 10 assists.

Daugherty's numbers once the regular season ends over her first three seasons as an Eagle are impressive:

 

GLIAC TOURNAMENT

DATE

OPPONENT

PTS

REB

AST

STL

BLK

FG

FT

3/5/17

GRAND VALLEY STATE

25

11

3

1

2

8-13

8-8

3/4/17

MICHIGAN TECH

16

4

0

1

0

5-15

5-6

2/28/17

WALSH

22

7

2

1

1

10-13

0-0

3/6/16

GRAND VALLEY STATE

17

10

1

0

1

6-9

4-4

3/5/16

WALSH

23

6

3

0

1

8-13

7-8

3/1/16

NORTHERN MICHIGAN

5

7

5

1

3

1-8

3-4

3/8/15

at Michigan Tech

13

10

2

3

0

4-9

4-4

3/7/15

vs. Walsh

6

10

2

0

0

2-6

2-2

3/4/15

NORTHWOOD

17

7

5

2

1

7-14

1-2

AVERAGES

 

16.0

8.0

2.6

1.0

1.0

51-100

34-38

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

51.0

89.5

 

NCAA TOURNAMENT

DATE

OPPONENT

PTS

REB

AST

STL

BLK

FG

FT

3/13/17

DRURY

9

6

4

1

0

3-6

1-2

3/11/17

GRAND VALLEY STATE

21

10

2

1

0

5-12

10-10

3/10/17

MALONE

15

8

4

3

0

6-14

2-2

3/12/16

DRURY

18

4

2

1

0

6-10

6-6

3/11/16

URSULINE

24

16

2

0

1

9-19

6-8

3/16/15

vs. Lewis

21

10

0

1

3

8-15

4-6

3/14/15

at Michigan Tech

13

13

3

1

0

4-9

4-4

3/13/15

vs. Southern Indiana

12

5

4

0

1

4-6

4-4

AVERAGES

 

16.6

9.0

2.6

1.0

0.6

45-91

37-42

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

49.5

88.1

 

And Then There Was…One

Through March 15, Ashland is the only undefeated women's or men's basketball team in NCAA Division II, and is one of four women's basketball teams at all NCAA levels to still be undefeated:

DIVISION I (1) - Connecticut.

DIVISION II (1) - ASHLAND.

DIVISION III (2) - Amherst and St. Thomas (Minn.).

 

Ashland Sets The Division II Pace

Ashland has been the best Division II women's basketball program in the last six seasons, a stretch which includes a national championship in 2013 and a national runner-up finish in 2012.

The Eagles lead Division II since the start of the 2011-12 season with 178 victories and an .886 winning percentage (178-23) through March 15.

 

The Laundry List Of Winning Streaks

So far in 2016-17, Ashland has set five of the 10 program winning streaks found below:

 

CATEGORY

CURRENT

AU RECORD

Regular-season home win streak

40 (Dec. 19, 2014-current)

40 (Dec. 19, 2014-current)

Regular-season win streak

34 (Feb. 6, 2016-current)

49 (Nov. 13, 2011-Feb. 9, 2013)

Consecutive wins to start a season

34 (2016-17)

34 (2016-17)

Overall win streak

34 (Nov. 11, 2016-current)

34 (Nov. 11, 2016-current)

GLIAC regular-season home win streak

30 (Jan. 2, 2015-current)

30 (Jan. 2, 2015-current)

GLIAC regular-season win streak

26 (Feb. 6, 2016-current)

38 (Feb. 24, 2011-Feb. 9, 2013)

Home win streak

21 (Nov. 11, 2016-current)

44 (Feb. 3, 2011-Nov. 9, 2013)

Road/neutral-site win streak

15 (Feb. 18, 2016-current)

15 (Feb. 18, 2016-current)

Regular-season road/neutral-site win streak

15 (Feb. 18, 2016-current)

23 (Nov. 13, 2011-Jan. 24, 2012)

GLIAC regular-season road win streak

12 (Feb. 18, 2016-current)

17 (Feb. 24, 2011-Jan. 24, 2012)

 

Updating The Record Book

- With 127 games played, senior guard Kelsey Peare is second on Ashland's all-time list, and playing in all three Final Four games would make her the new record holder, passing Lindsay Tenyak (129). Peare's 43.3 career 3-point field-goal percentage is second-best, her 356 career assists are fourth-most and her 133 career 3-pointers are fifth-most in program history.

- Daugherty's 52.1 career field-goal percentage is fifth-best in Ashland history, and her 77.6 career free-throw percentage is tied for third-best.

- Snyder has 876 career rebounds (third all-time) and 266 career steals (second all-time).

- In Ashland's single-season section, Snyder (522) and Daugherty (514) have earned the ninth and 10th 500-plus-point seasons in program history. Daugherty joins sister Kari and Amber Rall as the only two-time members of that club.

- Peare's 52.9 3-point field-goal percentage far and away would be a new program single-season standard.

- Johnson's 130 made free throws are 12 away from tying Sue Rupp's record of 142 made in 1986-87.

- Snyder's 93 steals are nine away from tying her school record of 102 set last season.

 
 

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