Ashland University's women's basketball team keeps extending history – while moving toward more.
In their first trip to Hammond, Ind., the No. 1-ranked Eagles defeated Purdue Northwest, 105-47. Ashland improves to 26-0 overall and 18-0 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while the Pride moves to 4-19, 3-15.
Ashland has clinched at least a share of its third consecutive GLIAC overall regular-season championship, and fifth in the last seven seasons, and will be the No. 1 seed in the 2018 GLIAC Tournament, Feb. 28 and March 3-4. Saturday's victory also was the Eagles' 63rd consecutively, the sixth-longest in NCAA basketball history, regardless of level or gender.
In winning its final regular-season road game of 2017-18, Ashland posted triple-figure points for the 16th time this season – two shy of the NCAA all-levels women's basketball single-season mark of 18, set by Glenville State in 2013-14.
The win also was Ashland's 28th straight on the road (non-neutral-site), four shy of the D-II women's basketball record of 32, set by Saint Rose from 1996-99.
1. Senior forward Laina Snyder missed out on becoming the program's all-time leading scorer, but did record her 44th career double-double on Saturday. Snyder finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds and three steals in 23 minutes. She has 2,080 career points, right behind Amber Rall's program-record 2,087.
2. Sophomore guard Jodi Johnson led the AU offense with 20 points and seven assists in just 22 minutes, while junior guard Maddie Dackin chipped in with 14 points, four steals and three blocks in 22 minutes. Sophomore forward/guard Sara Loomis came off the bench for 11 points and six boards, and sophomore guard Renee Stimpert added 10 points and seven assists.
3. Johnson's three steals give her a school-record 103 for the season – with two regular-season games and the postseason to go. Senior forward Andi Daugherty's five assists on Saturday give her 363 as an Eagle, now fourth-most in program history.
4. Offensively, Ashland finished with 27 assists on 40 baskets, and was 13-of-14 from the free-throw line. Seventeen of the Eagles' season-high 56 rebounds came on the offensive glass.
5. Defensively, AU kept the Pride to 30.6-percent shooting from the field and 20.8-percent shooting from 3-point range. The Eagles also forced 32 turnovers, scoring 40 points off of them. In the last four games, Ashland's "D" has kept opponents to an aggregate field-goal percentage of 34.7 and an aggregate 3-point field-goal percentage of 25.0.
6. The Pride led 5-4 early, but the Eagles didn't take long to go on one of their patented scoring streaks. A 13-0 run heading into the game's first media timeout lifted AU to a 17-5 lead. Ashland hit seven of its first 11 shots from the field, while PNW missed nine of its first 11.
7. The run was extended to 18-0 before the next Pride basket, and by the end of the first quarter, Ashland led, 26-12. All the usual hallmarks were there in the first 10 minutes – seven turnovers turned into nine points, shooting 52.4 percent from the field and keeping the Pride to 25.0 percent from the floor.
8. Early in the second quarter, Johnson recorded her third steal of the game, setting the new Ashland single-season thefts record. That was part of 10 team steals in 16 turnovers in the game's first 15 minutes, as the Eagles took a 45-20 lead.
9. At the half, the Eagle lead was 39 points, 60-21, as Ashland outscored PNW in the second quarter, 34-9. Ashland's effort was strong at both ends of the floor – shooting 53.7 percent from the field, hitting 8-of-9 from the line, scoring 25 points off 18 Pride turnovers, dishing out 17 assists on 22 field goals, having a 27-19 rebounding advantage and keeping PNW to 26.5 percent from the floor and 2-of-13 from 3-point range.
10. For Purdue Northwest, Bayley Goodman led the way with 16 points.
The next-to-last regular-season game, Thursday (Feb. 22) at 5:30 p.m. at Kates Gymnasium vs. Saginaw Valley State (5-20, 5-13). That will be Faculty/Staff Night.