One year ago to the day, Ashland University's women's basketball team won at Bellarmine for its 14th consecutive victory.
On Saturday (Dec. 30) afternoon at Kates Gymnasium, the No. 1-ranked Eagles defeated the Knights once again – this time to move closer to history. Ashland's 111-68 win not only made it 13-0 in the 2017-18 season, but also ran its winning streak to an even 50 games, one shy of the NCAA Division II women's basketball record of 51, set by Washburn from Jan. 26, 2005-March 11, 2006.
"What's meaningful is the people we've been able to do it with," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick, "and the way that they've done it. That's the part that we'll hold on to in a memorable way.
"What we focus on is getting better, and winning the game a possession at a time. When you do that, everything's more enjoyable in that journey."
Said senior forward Laina Snyder, "It's just been fun. I've played with a lot of great players. It's showed because of all of the success we've had."
Added sophomore guard Jodi Johnson, "It's a good way to end the year 2017. We're just looking to push that into the new year, and still focus on getting better."
The Knights are 6-5.
Saturday marked the third consecutive time Ashland has scored at least 100 points – a first in program history. The Eagles have scored in triple figures in four of the last five outings, and 17 times during the winning streak. The program had 17 such games in 1,204 contests prior to 2016-17.
1. Bellarmine scored the game's first five points, which was immediately followed by an 8-0 Ashland run and a Knights timeout. Just inside of the five-minute mark of the opening quarter, the Eagles led 16-8, on the strength of a defense which forced six turnovers.
2. When the first quarter clock hit 0:00, Ashland's lead was 30-13 – and Bellarmine had more turnovers (12) than field-goal attempts (11).
3. That ramped-up defense continued into the second stanza, where the Eagles' 17 forced miscues led to a 41-18 advantage just 3:10 in. Bellarmine had 20 turnovers in less than 15 minutes, and in that first half, the Eagles forced as many turnovers (25) as they allowed points while taking a 31-point lead into the break.
4. There was balance throughout the Ashland side of the stat sheet in nearly every category. Snyder led the way with 21 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals; Johnson went for 18 points, five boards, three helpers and five thefts; senior forward Andi Daugherty added 17 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals; and junior guard Maddie Dackin went for 15 points, three rebounds, five assists and three steals. Off the bench, sophomore forward/guard Sara Loomis had 12 points, three assists and two blocks, while senior forward Julie Worley chipped in with 11 points and three boards on 5-of-7 shooting from the field in just 12 minutes.
"Basketball is the ultimate team game," Fralick said. "It's reliant on a team moving together and playing together. Tonight, I thought that was very clear, both offensively and defensively."
5. In Saturday's victory, Daugherty became the first player in Ashland women's basketball history to post all of the following in a career - at least 1,600 points, 800 rebounds, 300 assists, 100 blocks, 125 steals and a field-goal percentage higher than 50 percent.
6. Ashland forced a season-high-tying 36 turnovers against the Knights. It was the third time this season the Eagles have forced at least 35 miscues in a game.
7. Bellarmine was led by Beth Bowers, who scored a game-high 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field and added eight rebounds.
8. Prior to Saturday's game, Jack and Deb Miller were honored for their gift of the 2016-17 women's basketball national championship statue, which resides beside the walkway leading from King Road to the Physical Education Center.
9. Saturday was the Knights' second road game of the season after playing their first nine games of 2017-18 at Knights Hall. Two of Bellarmine's last three road/neutral-site losses have come at Kates Gymnasium.
10. Ashland has won 25 non-conference regular-season games in a row. Other Eagle winning streaks extended on Saturday include 47 in a row in the regular season, a school-record 46 in a row in the regular season at home, and 27 overall at home.
The return to Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on Thursday (Jan. 4) at 5:30 p.m. at No. 13 Michigan Tech (11-1). The Eagles and Huskies are the last undefeated teams in GLIAC play at 5-0 each.