COLUMBUS - It has been seven months and five days since Ashland University's women's basketball team won the 2017 NCAA Division II national championship in the Ohio capital.
As it turned out, the Eagles' next game would be in the same city, as the 2017-18 exhibition season opened up with a 110-80 loss on Sunday (Oct. 29) afternoon at The Ohio State University.
"We had some really good spurts where we would put together a few good possessions of getting a good score in transition, then a stop, then a score," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick. "During those times, I would see some good hustle plays. So we'll take that.
"We're becoming a new team, and we've got everyone figuring out who they are in that. The good news is too, when you leave a game like this, you're not wondering what you need to work on."
A year ago in the exhibition season, Ashland lost at OSU by an 88-79 count.
Sophomore guard Jodi Johnson scored the game's first two points on a driving layup, then the Buckeyes scored the next seven straight. OSU had a pair of five-point leads early on, led 13-9 at the first media timeout of the contest and had a 27-17 advantage into the final minutes of the opening quarter.
Senior forward Julie Worley took over from there, scoring five consecutive points to cut the Ashland deficit to 27-22 prior to Ohio State having a 30-22 lead going into the second.
The Buckeyes led 36-24 before the Eagles went on a 8-3 spurt to make it a seven-point deficit. OSU, however, finished the half on a 19-9 run to take a 58-41 advantage into the break.
Ashland cut Ohio State's lead to 60-45 early in the third quarter, but the Buckeyes scored 13 of the game's next 15 points for a 73-47 lead at the 6:52 mark of the stanza. OSU led 88-59 through three quarters, and went on to victory from there.
Senior forward Laina Snyder came close to a double-double, posting 21 points and nine rebounds to go with two assists and three steals. Worley finished with 16 points and four boards, while junior guard Maddie Dackin, Johnson and sophomore guard/forward Sara Loomis each added nine points.
Ashland, as is custom, had 20 assists on 33 made field goals.
For the Buckeyes, senior guard Kelsey Mitchell had 28 points, while senior forward Stephanie Mavunga racked up 28 points, 23 rebounds, four assists and two steals. OSU had five players in double-digit scoring.
"They're excellent. They're two of the top players in the country for a reason," Fralick said of Mitchell and Mavunga. "Some of the plays they make…the offensive rebounds bother me, though. That's something we can control."
Ashland's exhibition season concludes on Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. at perennial Division I power Connecticut.