Playing its next-to-last regular-season game of the 2019 calendar year, the No. 4-ranked Ashland University women's basketball team topped Hillsdale on Friday (Dec. 20) night, 95-60, at Kates Gymnasium.
For the fourth time in the last five seasons, and the eighth time in program history, Ashland has started a campaign at 10-0. The Chargers are 4-8.
"I thought our defensive effort was really strong, start to finish," said Ashland head coach Kari Pickens. "To hold any team to 36 percent, that's something we want to aim for every game, and I was really pleased to see that we forced 18 turnovers.
"Both ends of the court were flowing really well tonight. It was a fun basketball game."
Ashland has defeated Hillsdale six consecutive times in the series.
THE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
- Ashland trailed 9-4 right before the game's first media timeout, as the Chargers connected on three early triples. Senior forward Sara Loomis wiped that deficit away with five straight points, and by the end of the first quarter, an overall 18-3 run lifted the Eagles to a 22-12 advantage.
- The Eagles scored the first nine points of the second quarter to extend their lead to 19 points, but three more treys consecutively for Hillsdale made it a 31-21 game with 5:28 to go until halftime.
- At the break, Ashland led 43-31, but both teams were having a lot of success from beyond the arc – the Eagles 7-of-10 and the Chargers 9-20 from downtown. Hillsdale made just one 2-point basket in the game's first 20 minutes.
- Halfway through the third quarter, Ashland had moved ahead by 20 points at 58-38. By the end of the period, that lead had ballooned to 29 points at 73-44 – thanks to an offense which made 13-of-18 from the floor, and a defense which kept the Chargers to 5-of-15 from the field.
- Ashland showed a balanced offensive output on Friday, as six Eagles scored in double figures. Sophomore guard Hallie Heidemann led the way with 17 points, followed by senior guard Sarah Hart's 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the floor off the bench.
- Loomis added 15 points, which moved her into 18th place on Ashland's all-time scoring list with 1,132 for her career. Senior point guard Renee Stimpert posted 14 points and 10 assists, senior guard Jodi Johnson added 14 points and six helpers, and junior forward Karlee Pireu chipped in with 11 points.
"It was really fun. I was sitting on the sidelines – I love getting to coach this team," said Pickens. "I love how unselfish they are."
- Ashland ended the night hitting 54.4 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from 3-point range, and collecting 27 assists to just nine turnovers.
- Defensively, the Eagles kept the Chargers to just two second-half 3-pointers.
"I thought our girls did a nice job making adjustments," Pickens said.
- For Hillsdale, Lauren Daffenberg led the offensive showing with 13 points.
- Since the start of the 2011-12 campaign, the Eagles are 256-27 (.905) overall, and 137-10 (.932) at Kates Gymnasium.
- Ashland is 209-15 (.933) all-time as a team ranked in the coaches' Top 25 poll, and 113-6 (.950) in that scenario at home.
The Eagles will conclude the first semester of the 2019-20 season at home on Sunday (Dec. 22) at 1 p.m. vs. Southern Indiana (5-1).