Even before students return to the Ashland University campus for the start of the 2019-20 academic year, the Eagle women's basketball team will get a head start on a new season.
AU's women will embark on a week-plus-long trip to Europe in August – playing two games each in Lisbon, Portugal, and Madrid, Spain, against teams and at dates to be determined, sometime between Aug. 13-22.
"We get to play four games against foreign teams, and we also get 10 days of practice before we go, which is a huge bonus to be able to put things in early and get a good connection," said Ashland head coach Kari Pickens. "We think it will be a great team-building opportunity, we think it will make our players more well-rounded people, seeing a new cultural experience, and something we always want to do is provide them with the best experience."
Pickens noted that the NCAA allows for an overseas trip once every four years, which is NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199. These games will not count toward the number allowed for the 2019-20 campaign.
In 2018-19, the Eagles finished 29-3 overall and 18-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, winning their fourth consecutive GLIAC Tournament championship and qualifying for the Division II postseason for the fifth year in a row.
Over the last eight seasons, Ashland women's basketball has put together perhaps the best stretch in NCAA Division II – two national championships, two national runner-up finishes, seven D-II playoff appearances, six GLIAC Tournament championships, five GLIAC regular-season titles, a Division II basketball-record 73-game winning streak (Nov. 11, 2016-March 21, 2018), and an aggregate record of 246-27 (.901).
Those 246 wins represent the most for any D-II women's hoops program in the last eight seasons.