THE TURNING POINT: Trailing 25-18 late in the first quarter, Ashland went on an 11-0 run to take a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
STAT OF THE GAME: The Eagles have scored at least 100 points in 13 games since the start of the 2016-17 season.
Ashland University's women's basketball team took one last look back at 2016-17 before resuming their winning ways in 2017-18.
Following their national-championship ring ceremony prior to new season's home opener vs. Notre Dame College on Tuesday (Nov. 14) night at Kates Gymnasium, the No. 1-ranked Eagles defeated the Falcons, 108-71. Ashland has started the season 3-0, while NDC is 1-2.
"It was an incredible event to celebrate a very memorable season, and I love the way the community was included in the story," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick, who improves to 71-2 (.973) as a head coach, about the ceremony, which included members of what she dubs the "Purple Swarm" handing rings to members of the title team. "To see that our story can be intertwined with so many stories in the community, the connectedness of that made for a very special ring ceremony."
Tuesday night's victory was Ashland's 40th in a row, and the program became just the third in NCAA Division II women's basketball history to win at least 40 straight games. The Eagles also extended their team-record regular-season home winning streak to 41 games, their regular-season overall winning streak to 35 and their overall home winning streak to 22.
Sophomore guard Jodi Johnson had her best game as an Eagle, which is saying something given that she is the reigning Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year. Johnson scored a career-high 31 points on 12-of-13 shooting from the field, and added a career-high 12 rebounds, in just 27 minutes.
"There's always things to improve on year after year," Johnson said. "Obviously, roles change each year. I feel like I had enough experience and learned a lot more about the game to work on it over the summer."
Senior forward Laina Snyder added 26 points on 12-of-19 from the field, to go with nine rebounds and six assists. Snyder now has 927 career rebounds, 10 away from tying Jackie Mason (937) for No. 1 on Ashland's all-time list.
"It was really neat," Snyder said of the ring ceremony. "Just to have that team back and all the memories coming back from the year before was really nice.
"It's nice to be back (home). It's all starting to come together. It's early. We're not going to be a March team in November."
Ashland shot 53.2 percent from the field and 85 percent from the free-throw line, outrebounded the Falcons 51-29, and had 33 assists on 41 made field goals. Sophomore guard Renee Stimpert tied a career high with nine helpers, and sophomore guard Sarah Hart added seven assists in just 14 minutes.
For the Falcons, Seina Adachi paced the offense with 19 points.
UP NEXT: Home game No. 2 of the young season, Monday (Nov. 20) at 5:30 p.m. vs. former Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival Walsh.