Ashland University's women's basketball team, ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II, opened up 2018-19 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play in complete fashion on both ends of the court on Thursday (Nov. 29) night at Kates Gymnasium, defeating Lake Superior State, 107-34.
Thursday's victory moved the Eagles to 6-0 overall and 1-0 in the GLIAC, while the Lakers are 3-3, 0-1.
"We talked after the game about our identity points, we have four," said Ashland head coach Kari Pickens, "and we met all four of our identity points with flying colors tonight."
Ashland moves its home winning streak to 43 games, one win shy of the program record of 44, set from Feb. 3, 2011-Nov. 9, 2013. The Eagles also have won 50 consecutive home games in the GLIAC regular season or conference tournament.
With 799 all-time victories, Ashland is a W away from becoming the 15th NCAA Division II women's basketball program to reach the 800-win mark.
THE TOP TEN
1. Leading AU's offense on Thursday night was freshman guard Hallie Heidemann, who came off the bench for a career-high 22 points in just 19 minutes. Heidemann made all eight of her shots from the field, six of those coming from 3-point range.
"When it comes to game time, we just go out and play," Heidemann said of the No. 1 ranking.
2. Junior forward Sara Loomis, the reigning GLIAC South Division Player of the Week, ended the night with 15 points, 10 rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals. Loomis has started 2018-19 with five double-doubles in six games.
3. Junior guard/forward Jodi Johnson posted 14 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals, and with 1,250 career points, she moves into 12th place on the program's all-time scoring list.
4. Both senior guard Maddie Dackin and junior guard Renee Stimpert scored 10 points. With 10 assists, not only did Stimpert go for a double-double, but she moved into third place on AU's all-time list with 427 career helpers.
"I like to play fast, and as the point guard, it's my job to put them in position to score," Stimpert said. "We're having fun, and everyone can see it."
5. Offensively, Ashland had 28 assists on 43 made field goals, and shot 59.7 percent from the floor and 56 percent from beyond the arc.
6. Defensively, with senior guard Brooke Smith leading the way with one-on-one play in the backcourt, the Eagles forced 29 turnovers without trapping or pressing, and turned them into 39 points.
"Defense is my favorite, so I take pride in that," Smith said. "As a team, I know that's one of the things we're known for."
Pickens said, "Brooke Smith sets the tone for our defense. She's made huge strides in defending without fouling this year. She completely sets the tone for our half-court defense."
7. The Eagles scored at least 100 points for a third consecutive contest, and has 22 100-plus-point games since the start of the 2017-18 season.
8. Ashland came out of the gate scoring the game's first eight points in the opening 3:03, and all eight points came off five Laker turnovers. The run increased to 13-0, and by the end of the first quarter, the score was 27-4.
9. The Eagle lead moved to 47-11 at the second-quarter media timeout, and by halftime, it was 56-12. In the game's first 20 minutes, Ashland had 14 assists on 21 made field goals, and turned 17 LSSU turnovers into 22 points.
10. For the Lakers, Morgan Villemure came off the bench for a game-high 13 points.
Ashland will stay at home on Saturday (Dec. 1) at 1 p.m. to take on Ferris State (4-2, 1-0). Prior to the game, there will be a ring ceremony for the 2017-18 NCAA Division II national finalist team, and at halftime, there will be a Teddy Bear Toss, benefitting Associated Charities and the Salvation Army.