In a game which saw 21 lead changes and nine ties, the No. 3-ranked Ashland University women's basketball team lost late to No. 15 Grand Valley State, 73-71, on Saturday (Feb. 2) afternoon at Kates Gymnasium.
The Eagles are 19-2 overall and 11-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and had their program-record 50-game home winning streak snapped on Saturday. The Lakers are 19-2, 12-1, and move alone into first place in the GLIAC standings.
"I'm really proud of how hard our team fought," said Ashland head coach Kari Pickens. "We wish the result would have been a little different, but they did what we asked them to. A few shots fall a little differently, and it's a different ball game.
"I'm really proud of our team."
Grand Valley State guard Natalie Koenig's layup with two seconds left provided the final margin of victory for the Lakers.
THE TOP TEN
1. Junior guard/forward Jodi Johnson led the AU charge with 17 points, to go with seven rebounds and four assists. Johnson moved into sixth place on Ashland's all-time scoring list with 1,499 career points, passing Vickie Schmitz (1,485).
2. Junior forward Sara Loomis was next with 16 points, to go with nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Yet another junior, guard Renee Stimpert, rounded out the AU double-digit scoring with 10 points, along with four rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
3. The Lakers converted more high-percentage shots on Saturday, as their 55.0 field-goal percentage attested. The Eagles made 34.2 percent from the field, but was near-perfect from the free-throw line (10-for-11), and turned the ball over just seven times.
4. In the first quarter, the largest lead for either side was four points (Ashland 10-6), and the margin through the first 10 minutes was 17-16 in the Eagles' favor. AU didn't turn the ball over, and scored six points off four Laker miscues.
5. By halftime, the tight contest saw Ashland take a 38-35 lead into the locker room. The Eagles overcame 34.2-percent shooting from the floor with a 7-for-7 showing at the free-throw line, and just one turnover committed.
6. With 5½ minutes left in the third quarter, Ashland had a 50-46 lead. Grand Valley, however, kept chipping away, and by the end of the third stanza, it had a 57-55 lead – thanks in large part to a shooting advantage of 62.5 percent to 31.8 percent.
8. In the fourth quarter alone, there were two ties and six lead changes. Back-to-back buckets by Loomis at the 2:49 mark, then Johnson with 90 seconds to play, gave Ashland a 71-69 lead.
9. Just outside of a minute to go, Laker center Cassidy Boensch tied the game with a layup, then two missed shots and a turnover by Ashland set up Koenig's game-winner.
10. Pacing the Lakers on Saturday were Boensch (31 points, 13 rebounds, seven blocks), guard Jenn DeBoer (18 points, five rebounds, seven assists) and forward Maddie Dailey (11 points, six rebounds, three assists).
Thursday (Feb. 7) at 5:30 p.m. at Ferris State (11-7, 8-4), in a game that can be seen nationwide on ESPN3.