The second season begins for the Ashland University women's basketball team on Wednesday (Mar. 6). That season is often filled with unpredictable events. There will be times when the tension can't be cut by a chainsaw.
The first season ended on Saturday (Mar. 2) at Lake Erie with the Eagles thumping the Storm, 80-54. Before gazing into the future, it's worth looking at the past and present one more time.
This was the end of the regular season. Once again, this campaign was anything but regular for the Eagles. AU has won the GLIAC South Division championship and the GLIAC regular season title for the second consecutive year. Ashland is ranked second in the country and is 28-1, 21-1 in the conference. Over the last two seasons, AU has lost one conference game.
Over the last 14 games, AU has allowed the opposition to score 60 or more points once. In the last 13 games, the Eagles have scored 80 points seven times. The Eagles began the season ranked first in the country and held that position until mid-February. They've been ranked third or higher all season.
At Lake Erie, the Eagles were in motion, but didn't go through the motions. That's not always easy in a game where head coach Sue Ramsey kept a close watch on the minutes played column. In a perfect world, a game like this gives a coach an opportunity to rest starters and get everyone on the roster playing time. That's exactly how this game went.
No AU starter played more than 27 minutes. Ten players put at least a mark in the scorebook. The Eagles led early and were never seriously challenged in winning for the fourth straight time.
Ashland's leading scorer was sophomore guard Taylor Woods (Wadsworth, Ohio). She had 16 points and five steals. Senior guard-forward Kari Daugherty (Fresno, Ohio/Dayton) contributed 13 points and nine rebounds and junior guard Alyssa Miller (Zanesville, Ohio/Tri-Valley) had 13 points and five assists. Senior guard Lindsay Tenyak (Wadsworth, Ohio) had 13 points and four steals. The other starter, senior forward Daiva Gerbec (Dublin, Ohio/Bishop Watterson), snagged nine rebounds.
The Eagles looked like accomplished pickpockets in this game. Against a young LEC team, the Eagles had 15 steals, 14 by the starting five. Ashland led in points off of turnovers, 26-18.
In games where the outcome is decided early, defensive intensity often wilts. That didn't appear to be the case here. Even with all the different combinations on the floor, Ashland held LEC to 15 field goals and a 25.4 percent shooting percentage (15-of-59) from the floor.
Ali Gagne had 12 points for Lake Erie. Chrissy Delaney scored 11 points.
The Eagles will now wait for the conference office to sort out their first-round opponent in the GLIAC playoffs. Ashland will play the eighth seed on Wednesday (Mar. 6, 7 p.m.). A win in that game would bring the GLIAC Final Four to Kates Gymnasium for a second consecutive year. Prior to last season, that event had never been played in Ashland. A year ago, the Eagles defeated Ferris State in the conference championship game.