It wasn't a garden variety win at Kates Gymnasium on Saturday (Jan. 19) afternoon for Ashland University's women's basketball team.
In a 98-65 victory on Saturday, the No. 6-ranked Eagles not only improved to 17-1 overall and 9-1 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, they also moved into a first-place tie in the GLIAC South Division standings, thanks to Northern Michigan's 56-43 home win over No. 9 Grand Valley State on Saturday.
"That was fun, especially in the second half," said Ashland assistant coach Stephanie Gehlhausen. "We gave up 26 points in the first quarter, then to give up 28 points the entire second half, it's just a credit to our defense and our pressure."
Saturday's game also was significant for a record-tying performance. Junior guard Renee Stimpert tied the AU women's hoops record for most assists in a game with 15, a record originally set by Alyssa Miller at Tiffin on Feb. 23, 2013. What may have been even more impressive was Stimpert had 15 assists to just one turnover in the win.
"They're putting the ball in the hoop, and I'm having fun out there," said Stimpert. "I try to not turn the ball over. That's my job."
Another Eagle junior, forward Sara Loomis, nearly tied the program record for blocks in a game – and was close to the program's second all-time triple-double. Loomis ended the afternoon with 20 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocked shots, while making 7-of-9 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line.
"It's been fun, just with my teammates. They set me up with the defense we run," Loomis said.
THE TOP TEN
1. Ashland finished with six double-digit scorers in the victory over the Timberwolves. Junior guard/forward Jodi Johnson had 18 points and seven rebounds, sophomore forward Karlee Pireu added 16 points, and freshman guard Hallie Heidemann and senior guards Maddie Dackin and Brooke Smith all chipped in with 11 points each.
2. In a complete offensive performance, the Eagles shot 55.6 percent from the field, 44.0 percent from 3-point range and 17-of-19 from the free-throw line. Ashland also had 24 assists on 35 made field goals, and turned the ball over just 10 times.
3. Defensively, the Eagles allowed just 39 points over the last three quarters, and in the second and third periods combined, Northwood missed 30 of 38 field-goal attempts.
4. Ashland has won 10 straight games, 49 games in a row at home, eight in a row overall over Northwood, and 36 in a row in the month of January.
5. It was an undesired start to the game for the Eagles, who trailed 26-19 at the end of the first quarter, and 30-23 two minutes into the second period. In the first 10 minutes, the Timberwolves made nine of 14 shots from the field, while Ashland was 5-of-14 from the field.
6. Trailing by seven points early in the second, the Eagles outscored Northwood 20-7 for the remainder of the first half. There were stark differences between the first and second stanzas, not the least of which were Loomis' five blocked shots, which helped AU keep the T'Wolves to 4-of-17 shooting from the floor.
7. Leading 52-43 with 5½ minutes remaining in the third quarter, Ashland pulled away from Northwood thanks to a 20-6 run for the rest of the stanza.
8. Ashland's 10th straight win gives the program seven 10-plus-game winning streaks this decade - highlighted by the NCAA Division II basketball-record 73-game winning streak during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns.
9. Saturday's game was the Eagles' 200th overall as a ranked team in the NCAA Division II coaches' poll, and Ashland is 187-13 in such games.
10. For Northwood (7-11, 4-6), Ellie Taylor scored a game-high 16 points, while Kenzie Seeley added 14.
A rare one-game week, Saturday (Jan. 26) at 1 p.m. at Wayne State (10-8, 5-5).