They can win the "low-scoring" games, too.
Opening up home Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play in 2019-20 on Saturday (Dec. 14) night at Kates Gymnasium, No. 4-ranked Ashland University women's basketball topped Wayne State, 79-54. The Eagles improve to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in the conference, while the Warriors are 6-3, 1-2.
"What a fourth quarter," Ashland head coach Kari Pickens said of her Eagles outscoring the Warriors 23-6. "We haven't had the best fourth quarters so far this year, and I am so proud of them to put together such a strong performance."
Ashland has defeated Wayne State in 10 consecutive meetings, as Saturday's game started a stretch of four games in nine days for the Eagles to close out 2019.
THE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
- The two teams were tight in the early going, with Ashland sporting a 12-9 advantage at the first-quarter media timeout. The remainder of the first quarter was the same way, as the Eagles took a 19-18 lead into quarter No. 2.
- A triple by sophomore guard Erin Daniels put AU ahead 25-20 right before the second-quarter media stoppage, then, inside of the four-minute mark, junior forward Karlee Pireu's layup made it a 27-20 contest. Wayne State called a timeout when another Daniels 3 lifted the Eagles to a 30-20 advantage.
- At halftime, Ashland's lead was extended to 12 points at 39-27. The Eagles made up for a field-goal percentage of 38.2 in the first 20 minutes by limiting the Warriors to 34.4 percent, and making 10-of-11 tries from the free-throw line.
- With 3:51 remaining in the third quarter, Wayne State had cut its deficit to 52-43. By the end of the third, the Warriors had chipped away again to 56-48, but the Eagles made 53.8 percent from the floor in the stanza.
- Early in the fourth, however, Ashland scored nine of the first 12 points to extend its lead to 65-51. Senior forward Sara Loomis nailed a triple to give the Eagles that advantage prior to a WSU timeout.
- The Eagles were on the way to victory thanks in part to a fourth-quarter defensive effort which kept Wayne State off the scoreboard for almost six minutes.
"I thought our ability to mix up defenses disrupted them," Pickens said. "Against the best teams in the conference, they don't let up. I thought this team weathered the storm, and when push came to shove in the fourth quarter, we shoved. We shoved really hard, and we found a way to win."
- Loomis was the game's high scorer with 21 points, and added a game-high 13 rebounds for a double-double. Loomis was 8-of-12 from the field and 4-of-4 from the foul line.
- Senior guard Jodi Johnson added 16 points, eight rebounds and four steals, and in the process, became the fourth player in program history with 1,800+ points (1,804).
- Pireu made it three Eagles in double-digit scoring with a dozen points thanks to an efficient 4-of-5 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line.
- The Eagles had a decided 50-36 rebounding advantage, and hit 16-of-17 from the free-throw line, in the victory.
- For the Warriors, Nastassja Chambers led the way with 18 points, as the Eagles kept them to 30.3-percent shooting as a team.
- Ashland is 136-10 in its last 146 home games, and 28-1 in its last 29 contests played in December.
Ashland will go back on the road to face Le Moyne (5-4) on Tuesday (Dec. 17) at 1 p.m.