#EagleNation Spotlight - Versatile Snyder Setting New Standards

#EagleNation Spotlight - Versatile Snyder Setting New Standards


Laina Snyder has played 125 games in an Ashland University uniform.

There has been a lot of winning, awards and statistics piled up in that time – and the Eagle senior forward isn't ready for any of it to end just yet.

Going into tomorrow night's game at Grand Valley State, Snyder is just 49 points away from passing Amber Rall to become the leading scorer in the 51-season history of Eagle women's basketball (Snyder has 2,039 career points, Rall 2,087).

"Not until this year did I ever imagine that even being a dream," said Snyder, who also has 340 career steals, and needs just 24 more to become the No. 1 player in program history in that category (Stacie White, 363). "That's not something I was expecting to be able to do. I'm excited, because it was a goal I set for myself at the beginning of the season, knowing that it was within reach. Just excited that we've had the season we've had as a team to put me in this position."

Earlier in 2017-18, Snyder moved into first place on Ashland's career lists in rebounds (1,080) and field goals made (865). And, with Snyder in the starting lineup, the Eagles are 113-7 (.942) with a national championship and a current 61-game winning streak.

"When we recruited Laina, we had really high expectations of her," said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick. "We thought that she could be a great player here. The amount she has developed, I don't know if it's surprised me, but I've been really proud of that. For as successful as she has been throughout her career, she's really worked hard. She puts in the work to develop.

"She's a great mix of both ability and work ethic."

Not bad for a player who originally didn't have Ashland on her post-high school radar.

"I didn't have any intentions on coming here," said Snyder, who grew up less than an hour away in Millersburg, Ohio. "I was looking at other Division II schools. Then, as I started saying no to them, the doors were wide open to Ashland.

"I'm kind of glad it wasn't on my radar, because when that door did open, it was very obvious. I don't regret a minute of it. I think I made a good decision."

And, also not bad for a player who didn't become a full-time starter until Christmas Break of her freshman campaign.

"As a freshman…I still had to prove myself," Snyder said. "Those first games really set the tone for how my career was going to go. I had been given a lot because of my talent throughout the years. I realized how much I was going to have to work for this. I'm so grateful for not starting when I first got here, because it made me push myself that much harder."

Ashland came within a game of going to the Elite Eight in Snyder's freshman year, and within two games of doing the same in her sophomore season. Then came last season, when the Eagles ran the table to 37-0 and won the program's second national championship.

"My freshman year, we were just excited," said Snyder. "The next year, we realized how big our goals could be. Falling short, that's the reason, I believe, we won the national championship."

Snyder is the reigning Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division Player of the Week, the 12th time she has earned that honor. The 2017-18 season awards are yet to come, and it would be hard for her to top the hardware she garnered in 2016-17, which included Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) regional Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Elite Eight Most Outstanding Player, Division II Basketball Bulletin Player of the Year, three first-team All-American awards, second-team College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America, All-Midwest Region tournament team, D2CCA Midwest Region Player of the Year, first-team D2CCA all-region, GLIAC female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, GLIAC Player of the Year, first-team All-GLIAC, All-GLIAC Defensive team, winter GLIAC Commissioner's Award, CoSIDA Academic All-District and All-GLIAC Academic Excellence.

Being able to do so many things successfully – score, rebound, defend, pass, etc. – is something Snyder learned early. She said she played guard growing up while playing with older kids.

"A lot of post players grow up not learning those guard fundamentals," Snyder said. "I think that was able to make me more versatile."

Snyder's versatility will be on display at Kates Gymnasium two more times in the regular season, including Senior Day on Feb. 24, and then perhaps in as many as six more games in the GLIAC Tournament and Midwest Regional tournament, should the Eagles host. Snyder will get to play at least three more home games (Ashland clinched a home GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal game on Feb. 28) with fellow senior forwards Andi Daugherty and Julie Worley, who make up arguably the best recruiting class in program history.

"We've put ourselves in a position to play six more home games after that Senior Day," Snyder said, "and a lot of seniors aren't in that position. As much as I'm going to enjoy reflecting on the past four years with those two, it's not going to be a sad moment, because I know we're coming back for, I hope, six more games in the gym."