On Thursday (Feb. 21) night at Northwood, Ashland University's women's basketball team overcame a ho-hum first quarter with three more Eagle-like periods.
The No. 10-ranked Eagles trailed by six points early in the second quarter, but ran away from the Timberwolves for an 84-65 victory on Thursday in Midland, Mich. Ashland improves to 24-2 overall and 16-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while Northwood is 11-15, 8-10.
After missing nine of 13 field-goal attempts in the first quarter, the Eagles made 60 percent of their shots in the game's final 30 minutes – thanks in large part to 18 assists on 27 buckets. AU's field-goal percentage of 53.4 for the game was the team's highest since…facing the Timberwolves at home on Jan. 19 (55.6).
In its last 61 games away from Kates Gymnasium, Ashland is 58-3.
THE TOP TEN
1. Filling the stat sheet once again was junior guard/forward Jodi Johnson. Mere hours after being named College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District for the second year in a row, Johnson posted a game-high 19 points to go with eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals, while also making all 10 free-throw attempts.
2. Following close behind was junior forward Sara Loomis, who went for 17 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots. Thursday marked the 10th time since Dec. 19 that Loomis has scored at least 17 points.
3. Senior guard Maddie Dackin chipped in with 12 points, and in doing so, she moved into 17th place on Ashland's all-time scoring list (1,126 points), passing Catherine Portyrata.
4. In addition to the high field-goal percentage, the Eagles also made all 12 free-throw attempts and 10-of-19 from 3-point range. Ashland also boasted a 35-28 rebounding margin.
5. Johnson scored Ashland's first five points in relatively short order, but once the first 10 minutes were in the books, the Eagles trailed 13-11. AU turned the ball over six times in the first quarter, but its strong defense of late stayed so, as the Timberwolves missed 11 of 15 attempts from the field.
6. Ashland's deficit grew to 17-11 early in the second stanza, but eight straight points, capped by sophomore forward Karlee Pireu's layup, put the Eagles up by two points and forced a Northwood timeout. The run grew to 23-6 after that six-point deficit thanks to back-to-back triples from freshman guard Hallie Heidemann, and by halftime, Ashland's improved shooting and continued good defense led to a 34-26 advantage.
7. The second quarter was more to the Eagles' liking in the shooting department, as they made 10-of-18 from the floor. Half of those baskets were assisted, after Ashland had no helpers in the first period.
8. Ashland and Northwood went back-and-forth at the start of the third quarter, but at the media timeout, the Eagles led 49-38. The AU lead increased to 60-40 late in the third, and it was 65-48 going into the final period.
9. The Eagles have won nine straight over the Timberwolves, and in the all-time series, Ashland leads Northwood, 27-5.
10. Northwood had four double-digit scorers on Thursday night, led by Brooke Ditto with 16 points.
The last regular-season road game of 2018-19 on Saturday (Feb. 23) at 1 p.m. at Saginaw Valley State (6-19, 6-12).