Ashland University's women's basketball team continues to head into the 2016 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament with momentum following an 86-55 Senior Night win over Lake Erie on Thursday (Feb. 25) night at Kates Gymnasium.
The No. 6-ranked Eagles conclude the regular season at 27-1 overall and 21-1 in the GLIAC, with conference and South Division championships and as the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, beginning Tuesday (March 1) at 5:30 p.m. at home against Northern Michigan (13-15, 12-10). AU will go into the tournament on a six-game winning streak.
"Obviously, the first quarter was a great start," Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick said of her team leading 23-0 after the first 10 minutes. "To hold a team to not scoring in the first, I was really, really proud of our defensive effort. I felt that was the catalyst for us for the game.
"There's still patches throughout the game that I know we've got to do a better job of more consistent play, but, overall, proud of our effort."
Coach Fralick Comments
The Storm ends their season at 8-20, 5-17.
This is the third time in the last five seasons Ashland has ended the regular season with a single loss (2011-12 and 2012-13). The Eagles have won the most games (159) of any Division II women's basketball program since the start of the 2010-11 season.
Ashland is 14-0 at home in 2015-16, tied for the third-most wins at "The Kates" in a season in program history. The Eagles are 84-10 (.894) at home since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, and have won 26 consecutive home contests.
The Eagles were led offensively by their three sophomore forwards. Laina Snyder had 17 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals, Andi Daugherty had 16 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and four steals in her 13th career double-double and Julie Worley chipped in with 16 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench.
Junior guard Kelsey Peare scored 10 points on 4-for-4 from the field and 2-of-2 from 3-point range, and added four assists.
Ashland shot 57.6 percent from the field and 11-of-12 from the foul line, and outrebounded Lake Erie, 43-29. AU also had 30 assists on 34 made field goals, and turned 18 Storm turnovers into 21 points.
The Eagles honored senior guards McKenzie Miller and Jamie Sobczak prior to Thursday's game on Senior Night. Sobczak had eight points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field, and added four rebounds and three assists, and Miller posted three points, two boards and four assists.
"They're great kids. They're special kids," Fralick said, "and what I love about them is they both took really different paths here. I love both their stories. They've both played different roles, they've played different positions…and they've always done what the team's needed."
Said Miller, "It was wonderful. Obviously, it's bittersweet, but we know we get to play again (at home). Having the whole crowd behind us and having my family here, it was incredible."
Added Sobczak, "It was great. I think it was even more special, because it wasn't our last home game here. It's a team win out there. We're so pumped. We're ready. We're coming in tomorrow for practice. We're all really excited."
THE NOTEBOOK: A moment of silence was observed prior to Thursday's game for Bob Wendling, who passed away on Feb. 18 at age 79. Wendling, a former Ashland professor and NCAA representative, is in the AU and Great Lakes Valley Conference Halls of Fame…Snyder, Daugherty and/or Worley have led or co-led Ashland in rebounds in 61 of 62 career games.…Ashland is 12-0 all-time against Lake Erie in conference play.