SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – It was game No. 36 of the 2017-18 season.
It got the team to the NCAA Division II national championship game.
And still, Ashland University's women's basketball team found some time to make some more history in its latest victory.
The top-ranked Eagles defeated No. 12 Indiana, Pa., on Wednesday night, 92-68, at the Sanford Pentagon, in a D-II national semifinal. Ashland (36-0) will take a 73-game winning streak into its second consecutive national championship game, Friday (March 23) at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central vs. No. 10 Central Missouri (29-3).
"I've just got an unbelievable amount of respect for coach (Tom) McConnell," Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick (104-2) said about IUP. "I thought it was a great game. I thought we played really well. I felt like we were hitting with all cylinders.
"I thought we played a really complete game. I loved our effort."
Ashland won national titles in 2013 and 2017, and was the national runner-up in 2012. The Eagles are 10-1 all-time at the Elite Eight - 4-0 in quarterfinals, 4-0 in semifinals and 2-1 in championship. AU is 26-5 (.839) all-time in the postseason – the best winning percentage of any D-II team with at least 25 games played.
1. Senior forward Andi Daugherty became the third player in program history to reach 2,000 career points, ending the game with 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting and seven rebounds. Daugherty has 2,009 career points.
"My senior class has played a lot of games and been on some pretty good teams," Daugherty said. "Both Laina and I having the opportunity to score 2,000 points, and Julie (Worley) 1,000 points. I don't know if that's ever been done in a senior class. The credit goes to the team, and the work we've put in in our careers."
2. Senior forward Laina Snyder turned in yet another strong all-around performance, going for 23 points, 20 rebounds and six assists. Hers is the seventh 20-20 game in program history. With 2,279 career points, Snyder is one point away from moving into a tie for 24th place in the history of D-II women's basketball, and has scored 709 points this season, second-most in program history.
3. Daugherty and Snyder each played in their 137th career game, tying the D-II women's hoops record set by LaShonda Chiles (Anderson, S.C./Lander, 2004-06, 07-08).
4. Sophomore guard Jodi Johnson moved into 16th place on Ashland's all-time scoring list (1,128 points), scoring 16 points, to go with six rebounds and five assists. Finally, junior guard Maddie Dackin joined the double-digit scoring club with 12 points, as the Eagles shot 50.7 percent from the floor and 86.4 percent from the foul line. Ashland outrebounded the Crimson Hawks by a wide 49-26 margin.
5. The early part of the first quarter was a close one, with neither team leading by more than four points until junior guard Brooke Smith hit a 3-pointer for a 19-13 Ashland lead heading into the game's first media timeout. In the first 5:28 of the contest, there was just one combined turnover (by IUP).
6. Ashland kept the Crimson Hawks scoreless for nearly five full minutes while extending its lead to 24-13. The end-of-first-quarter advantage was 26-15, thanks to an offense which was 9-of-16 from the field and 7-of-8 from the foul line.
7. Johnson picked up her third foul 34 seconds into the second quarter, but the Eagles continued to extend their lead. Ashland led by 16 points at 37-21 at the 6:19 mark of the second, and 17 points at 42-25 at the 1:41 mark, and by the halftime break, the gap was 42-30.
8. In the game's first 20 minutes, IUP was kept to 12-of-36 from the floor and 2-of-13 from downtown, and the Eagles had a key 23-16 rebounding advantage. Snyder already had her 48th career double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) at the half.
9. Ashland scored the second half's first five points, and the Eagles' lead was extended to 54-34 inside of the six-minute mark. Just outside of a minute to go in the third, Daugherty scored her 2,000th career point, and the advantage was 70-51.
10. For IUP, Megan Smith led the way with 21 points, 19 coming in the second half.
The national championship game on Friday night. The game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.