No. 11-ranked Ashland University women's basketball earned its 20th win of the 2018-19 season on Thursday (Feb. 7) night, as the Eagles won at Ferris State, 91-79, in a game nationally-televised on ESPN3.
Ashland improves to 20-2 overall and 12-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, giving the program its fifth straight 20-plus-win season and the 11th in the 52-season history of Eagle women's basketball. The win also secured a spot in the 2019 GLIAC Tournament, March 5 and 9-10. The Eagles have played in 19 of 23 previous GLIAC Tournaments, and their all-time record in those tourneys is 27-14. Ashland is the first GLIAC women's basketball program to win five regular-season and five tournament championships in a seven-season span, having done so in 2012-13 and 2016-18.
Thursday's game was a landmark showing for Ashland junior guard/forward Jodi Johnson, who not only once again flirted with a triple-double, but became just the sixth player in program history to score at least 1,500 points. Against the Bulldogs, Johnson finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds, seven rebounds and four steals, while hitting all 12 free throws and 8-of-13 from the field. Johnson now has 1,529 career points, fifth-most in program history.
The Eagles now have gone 148 consecutive games without suffering back-to-back defeats.
THE TOP TEN
1. Johnson wasn't the only Eagle with a double-double on Thursday night. Junior forward Sara Loomis tied her career high with 17 rebounds, and also posted 13 points.
2. Sophomore forward Karlee Pireu added 14 points, while senior guard Maddie Dackin chipped in with 13 points. Junior guard Renee Stimpert dished out eight assists, as the Eagles finished with 23 helpers on 32 made field goals.
3. Ashland boasted a decided 51-33 rebounding advantage on Thursday, and made 22-of-27 (81.5 percent) from the free-throw line. The Eagles also scored 20 points off 15 Bulldog turnovers.
4. For the 20th time in 22 games this season, AU kept an opponent to less than 48 percent from the field. On Thursday, Ferris State made 43.1 percent from the floor.
5. Leading 9-6 out of the first-quarter media timeout, Ashland allowed five straight Bulldog points. The Eagles, however, then scored six in a row themselves, and the initial period ended with a 19-17 AU advantage. Seven of eight Ashland field goals were assisted, as the Eagles shot 50 percent from the floor.
6. Ferris State wasn't going to go away easily, and the Ashland lead was just 28-25 at the second-quarter media stoppage. The Eagle upper hand was up to eight points at 43-35 at halftime, as Johnson posted 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. Also in the first 20 minutes, on the FSU defensive glass, AU had a 13-10 rebounding margin.
7. The Bulldogs scored the first four points of the second half to make it a four-game game, but Ashland kept Ferris State at arm's length, then freshman guard Hallie Heidemann's 3-pointer put the Eagles up 56-45 at the 3:28 mark of the third quarter.
8. It was a 65-58 Ashland lead going into the final quarter, then an 11-4 spurt to begin the stanza gave the Eagles their biggest cushion of the night to that point at 76-62.
9. Thursday night's game was the 1,300th all-time for Ashland women's basketball. The Eagles' all-time won-lost record is 813-487 (.625).
10. The Bulldogs (11-9, 8-6) were paced by Alexis Bush's 22 points, Riley Blair's 16 points, and Shaniya Huggins' 13 points and 10 assists.
The end of the two-game GLIAC road swing on Saturday (Feb. 9) at 1 p.m. at Lake Superior State (7-14, 2-12).