Finishing out 2018 with a game at a tough Midwest Region opponent on Sunday (Dec. 30) afternoon, the No. 8-ranked Ashland University women's basketball team won 86-82 against Southern Indiana.
The Eagles end their regular-season non-conference schedule at 11-1 overall, while the Screaming Eagles fall to 8-3.
Junior guard/forward Jodi Johnson scored 21 of her game-high 23 points in the second half, and in doing so, moved into eighth place on Ashland's all-time scoring list. Johnson has 1,379 career points, moving past Jodi Dobransky-Campbell (1,370).
Another junior, forward Sara Loomis, posted her sixth double-double of the season (17 points, 11 rebounds), while adding four blocks and three steals. Coming off the bench for a key inside presence was sophomore forward Karlee Pireu, who had 16 points and five boards.
Senior guard Maddie Dackin rounded out AU's four players in double-digit scoring with 11 points.
Ashland won at the site of its last regular-season non-conference road defeat, 72-64, on Nov. 22, 2014.
THE TOP TEN
1. With seven assists on Sunday, junior guard Renee Stimpert has 27 assists to four turnovers in the last three games, and 94 helpers overall in 12 games this season.
2. Ashland began the game with a barrage of 3-pointers, as three triples in the first 3:08 had the Eagles up 9-4 early. At the first media timeout at the 5:35 mark, AU led 11-4, with all four of its baskets assisted.
3. Thanks to an offense which connected on six treys, and a defense which forced six turnovers (resulting in nine points), Ashland took a 26-15 lead into the second quarter. The lead remained 11 at 32-21 before USI went on a 7-2 spurt to cut its deficit to six points at the second-quarter media timeout.
4. The Eagles' lead had been cut to two points at 36-34 late in the first half, and at the break, it was 40-36, as Loomis went into the locker room with 13 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
5. Still leading by four early at 43-39 in the third quarter, Ashland began to pull away thanks to a 7-0 spurt. By the third-quarter media stoppage, the Eagles' 13-4 run overall gave them a 56-43 advantage.
6. Through three stanzas, AU sported a 61-55 lead, as the Eagle defense continued to stand tall. USI turned the ball over 13 times in the first 30 minutes, leading to 17 Ashland points.
7. The Eagles continued to keep the Screaming Eagles at arm's length in the fourth quarter, and after USI cut its deficit to 77-73 in the last two minutes, Johnson's layup with 98 seconds to go provided the clinching points.
8. In the final period, Ashland made nine of 14 shots from the field, offsetting USI's 12-of-21 showing.
9. The Eagles improve to 82-8 (.911) in road games as a ranked team in the NCAA Division II coaches' poll.
10. For the Screaming Eagles, Imani Guy led the way with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots, while Kacy Eschweiler added 17 points and eight boards.
A return to Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on Thursday (Jan. 3) at 5:30 p.m. at Kates Gymnasium vs. Michigan Tech. The Eagles are second in the GLIAC South Division at 3-1 in the league, while the Huskies are tied for second in the GLIAC North, also at 3-1 in conference play.