On a night when one player was recognized for a milestone, and another reached one, the No. 6-ranked Ashland University women's basketball team earned an 83-60 victory over Saginaw Valley State on Thursday (Jan. 17) at Kates Gymnasium.
With their ninth consecutive victory, the Eagles improve to 16-1 overall and 8-1 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Ashland also has won 11 straight games against the Cardinals (3-13, 3-6), and extends its program-record home winning streak to 48 games.
"It was another great team win," said Ashland assistant coach Stephanie Gehlhausen. "Everybody who came into the game contributed in a positive way. We did a really good job running the offense."
Prior to Thursday's game, Ashland senior guard Maddie Dackin was lauded for scoring her 1,000th career point on Saturday (Jan. 12) at Purdue Northwest. Then, during the contest, junior guard Renee Stimpert became just the second player in program history to post 500 career assists. Stimpert's six helpers give her 504 at Ashland.
"I'm not going to have those assists without people dropping buckets," Stimpert said. "Kudos to the team. I'm having fun out there."
THE TOP TEN
1. There were impressive numbers posted throughout the Eagle starting lineup. Junior guard/forward Jodi Johnson, returning after missing two games due to injury, scored a game-high 20 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists. She passed her head coach, Kari Pickens (1,414 career points), into seventh place on Ashland's all-time scoring list (1,422).
"It felt like I never left," Johnson quipped.
2. Inside, Eagle forwards Sara Loomis and Karlee Pireu each earned double-doubles. Loomis ended the night with 19 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots, while Pireu went for 14 points and 10 boards. Loomis' presence inside forced the Cardinals to abandon trying to score inside.
3. Dackin scored 14 points, and Stimpert finished with eight points and two steals to go with the six assists. Of her milestone, Dackin said, "I've been a part of some really good teams. I've had a lot of teammates who are very unselfish, so they are the reason I got to 1,000 points."
4. The Eagles turned the ball over 13 times, but just twice in the second half. Ashland ended with a 46-37 rebounding margin, and had 23 assists on 33 made field goals. Defensively, AU kept SVSU to 35.3-percent shooting, and forced 14 turnovers.
5. Ashland ran out to a 16-4 lead in the first 5½ minutes, then led 20-11 at the end of the first quarter despite turning the ball over six times. The Eagle defense was the water-carrier early on, allowing SVSU to hit just 5-of-18 from the field and 1-of-5 from beyond the arc.
6. At the half, Ashland led 40-25, as Johnson scored 13 points in just 11 minutes on the floor, and Loomis posted eight points, five rebounds and five blocks. The Eagles' shooting stayed consistent (53.3 percent in the first quarter, 53.8 in the second), but 11 turnovers kept the possessions down.
7. In the first 20 minutes, AU's "D" was stifling, to the point that the Cardinals shot just 28.6 percent from the floor. The Eagle turnovers were blunted somewhat by out-rebounding SVSU, 22-17.
8. The Eagle pull-away came in the second half of the third quarter, as Ashland went on a 16-5 run to take a 63-37 lead late in the third.
9. Ashland has won 89 of its last 91 games, is 233-25 since the start of the 2011-12 season, and is 262-44 this decade.
10. Leading the Cardinals was Aaliah Hill with 14 points and nine rebounds.
A GLIAC home game on Saturday (Jan. 19) at 1 p.m. vs. Northwood (7-10, 4-5).