In the first-ever matchup between the two programs, the No. 1-ranked Ashland University women's basketball team topped Purdue Northwest, 120-47, on Saturday (Jan. 13) afternoon at Kates Gymnasium.
The Eagles, leaders of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference overall and the GLIAC South Division, improve to 17-0 overall and 9-0 in the conference. The Pride is 2-12, 1-8.
Saturday's win was the Eagles' 54th in a row, an NCAA Division II women's basketball record, and puts them one step closer to the D-II hoops record for either gender, 57, set by Winona State's men.
One program record was broken, and another one tied, against Purdue Northwest. The Eagles recorded 39 steals, impressively outpacing the previous mark of 25, set three previous times. That total also is the most in a game in D-II women's hoops this season, and the second-most in D-II women's hoops history for the single game.
"Our defensive pressure was very good throughout the entire game," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick, now 85-2 (.977) in her third season at the helm, "both in the full court and the half court. I liked the way we sustained that."
Sophomore guard Jodi Johnson tied the AU standard for single-game individual steals with 10. Andreas Forester originally pilfered 10 against Tampa on Nov. 24, 1993. Johnson was ninth in the country at 3.44 steals per game prior to Saturday.
"It's all about that pressure," said Johnson. "With that pressure, we're able to deflect passes and be able to have enough time to get in those passing lanes."
Ashland's 120 points marked a tie for third-most in a single game in program history, and the third time this season the Eagles have scored at least that many in a game. AU is averaging 100.2 points per game - the most in school history this late in a season.
1. The school record for most turnovers forced in a game is not available, but the 46 Ashland forced against the Pride seemingly would be up there. The Eagles came into the game leading Division II in turnovers forced per game at 29.0.
2. For the first time this season, seven Ashland players scored in double figures. Johnson and senior forward Julie Worley each scored 19 points, sophomore guard/forward Sara Loomis followed with 17, junior guard Maddie Dackin scored 16, senior forward Laina Snyder added a dozen and sophomore guard Renee Stimpert and junior guard Brooke Smith each had 10.
"Our style of play is built on the team," Fralick said.
3. In addition to Johnson's 10 thefts, Snyder set a career-high with nine, Smith had a college-best five and sophomore Sarah Hart, who played both guard and forward on Saturday, swiped a season-high four.
"Whatever the team needs," Hart said of her role. "Everybody likes a versatile player, and I'm just doing the best I can."
4. Ashland shot 52.9 percent from the floor and 77.8 percent from the free-throw line in the victory, dished out 31 assists on 46 made field goals and had a decided 50-29 rebounding advantage.
5. After turning the ball over 13 times in the first half, the Eagles cleaned that up in the second 20 minutes, recording just five turnovers.
6. No Ashland player saw action in more than 25 minutes on Saturday. Four starters were averaging at least 25 minutes per outing prior to the game.
7. The Eagles ran out to a 9-0 lead, and led 31-8 after the first quarter, 58-20 at the half and 91-33 after three en route to the victory.
8. Ashland has won at least the first 17 games of a season for the third year in a row, and the fourth time in the last six years.
9. During the 54-game winning streak, the Eagles have posted at least 72 points in every game, and going back to the end of the 2016-17 season, they have scored at least 79 points in 20 consecutive contests.
10. Other Ashland win streaks extended on Saturday were a school-record 51 in the regular season, a school-record 48 in the regular season at home, 35 in the GLIAC regular season, a school-record 34 in the GLIAC regular season at home and 29 overall at home.
Back on the road for a GLIAC game on Thursday (Jan. 18) at 6 p.m. at Saginaw Valley State.