The No. 6-ranked Ashland University women's basketball team has started the season at 5-0, winning five straight in-region games.
None of those victories have been a close as the one on Tuesday (Nov. 26) afternoon at Kates Gymnasium, as the Eagles came away with a 94-86 decision over Walsh (5-2).
"It was a great team win," said Ashland head coach Kari Pickens. "Walsh is a very good team. We're very pleased to come out with a victory today.
"I thought we put three quarters together today that were really strong. It's obvious our fourth quarter was not our best, but what I'm excited about is we get to learn from it, and move forward before we head into GLIAC play."
Ashland has won six consecutive games vs. the Cavaliers.
THE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
- Walsh scored the game's first five points, but Ashland countered with a 14-0 run of its own. When the dust settled after the first 10 minutes, two quick Shay Carter layups in the final half-minute pulled the Cavaliers to within a point at 20-19.
- Thanks to a Kimmie Borck triple, Walsh took a 22-20 lead early in the second period. Once again, however, the Eagles had the answer, running off 13 points in a row, en route to a 44-36 halftime advantage.
- In the first half, Ashland's rebounding (22-14 advantage) and free-throw shooting (11-for-12) were the main factors in the lead heading into the break.
- Ashland came out gunning to start the second half, outscoring Walsh 7-2 in the first 1:45 of the third quarter prior to a Cavaliers timeout. By the end of the third, the Eagles claimed a 73-57 lead thanks to a 29-point outburst which was paced by an 11-of-18 effort from the field, including 5-of-10 from downtown.
- The Eagles led by 20 points at two different junctures in the fourth quarter, but Walsh was able to cut its deficit down to eight late in the game. In the game's final 2:10, Ashland made six of 10 charity tosses to cap off the victory.
- Junior forward Sara Loomis led five Ashland players in double-digit scoring with 20 points, and in doing so, moved into 21st place on the program's all-time scoring list at 1,061 points. Loomis was 8-of-8 from the foul line, and added a game-high eight rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.
- Senior guard Renee Stimpert, returning after missing the last game due to injury, posted 17 points, six assists and five rebounds. Another senior guard, Jodi Johnson, added 13 points, three assists and three boards despite fouling out in the fourth quarter.
"We just have to trust each other," Stimpert said of winning with Johnson on the bench down the stretch. "With Jodi going out, someone has to step up there. Those are big shoes to fill. I think everyone on the floor did a really good job of that."
Said Loomis, "We just had to come together. We knew what we had to do. I thought everybody stepped up and did great at the end."
- Ashland shot 50.8 percent from the field in the victory, recording 21 assists in 30 made field goals. The Eagles also hit 47.8 percent from beyond the arc, and 82.1 percent from the foul line.
- The Eagles out-rebounded the Cavaliers, 38-28, and have out-caromed all five of their early-season opponents by an average of 12.4 per contest.
- For Walsh, Quionche Carter and Ty Newkirk each scored a game-high 21 points, as the Cavaliers made 91.3 percent of their charity tosses.
A nine-day layoff, then the beginning of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on Dec. 5 at Lake Superior State (3-2).
"We have time to spend with our families and our friends, and get rejuvenated and refreshed," Pickens said. "I think it comes at a really good time for our team, and especially before GLIAC play."