The Ashland Women’s Basketball has already made it to the Final Four of the NCAA Division II Postseason Tournament. Five visits to the Elite Eight, 5 trips to the Final Four, and 4 trips to the National Championship have been made in the program’s history.
The Eagles, led by head coach Kari Pickens, destroyed a 35-0 undefeated season in their most recent trip to the championship. They will now aim to face the Glenville State Pioneers, the current National Champions.
The Eagles are unbeaten in the important game leading up to a National Championship participation through four appearances. Discover basketball93.com to get more information!
Ashland Women’s Basketball History: 2011-2012
The Eagles made their first participation in the Elite Eight and Beyond during the 2011–2012 season. The program had not previously seen success to this degree, leaving a lasting impression on Division II.
The Eagles, who had gone 32-1 up until that point in the season, faced a challenging opponent in Bentley in the Final Four. Bentley entered their meeting with a record of 31-3 overall. It was certain to be a competitive game because two teams dominated D-II that season.
The Eagles would lead the Falcons 38-30 at intermission in the first half. With forward Kari Daugherty (Pickens) dominating the score column, the Eagles shot an exceptional 49% from the field to end the first half. The Falcons, on the other hand, struggled, managing just 31% field goal shooting and 23% 3-point shooting.
Similar to the previous half, the Eagles would dominate, with Daugherty finishing with 31 points on 13 of 24 field goal attempts. She would add 22 rebounds to her mind-blowing point total for the Eagles, helping them to a 77-62, 15-point victory.
Jena Stutzman, a guard, added 22 points to her effort and made 4-of-9 three-point shots.
While limiting the Falcons to only 31% shooting from the field and just 33% from beyond the arc, the squad would end the game with a 50% field goal percentage and 33% 3-point shooting percentage.
For the first time in program history, their victory would qualify them for the national championship.
Ashland Women’s Basketball History: 2012-2013
The Eagles only suffered one loss this season, to the Findlay Oilers on Valentine’s Day, and entered the Final Four with a 35-1 overall record.
The Eagles would play Western Washington in the Final Four.
The Vikings of Western Washington entered the Final Four with a 29-3 overall record. Through the 2012–2013 season, both teams combined for a 64–4 record, demonstrating the strength of D–II.
The Eagles would, however, emerge as the superior team once the game began.
The Eagles, again led by Kari Daugherty, took control early on, scoring the game’s first baskets. Over the course of the first 20 minutes, both teams would engage in back-and-forth combat, but each would experience individual cold streaks. The Eagles would hold a slim advantage over the Vikings at the break with a 10-point lead, 29-19.
The Eagle defense excelled while the Vikings struggled, limiting them to just 25% from the field as well as 0% from beyond the arc on 5 attempts. The Vikings would start the second half quickly after backtracking and having to regroup at halftime.
The first 12 of the 16 points scored by both teams in the following 20 minutes were scored by them. The Vikings drew the game in, but the Eagles recovered their composure and restored command of the match. The Eagles would defeat them 37-35 to end the second half and win 66-54. Both sides ramped up their offensive play after a sluggish first half to finish the game strongly.
Daugherty led the Eagles with a 24-point performance and 16 rebounds. There was just one other Eagle beside her who made a significant offensive contribution. Daiva Gerbec, a forward, scored 19 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and made 7 of 13 field goal attempts.
The Eagles would later defeat Downling to win the National Championship that year.
Ashland Women’s Basketball History: 2016-2017
The Eagles’ offense was largely recognized as one of the finest in the nation throughout the 2016–2017 season. The Eagles were destined to make another run for a national championship because more than 15 games ended with more than 100 points scored, and that is exactly what happened.
The Eagles faced a tough opponent in the Harding Bisons in the Final Four after defeating West Texas A&M in the Elite Eight.
The Bisons faced the Eagles with an overall record of 31-3 for the season.
The Bison’s lack of offensive production throughout the NCAA tournament will be their main worry going into the matchup between the two. They were scoring about 64 points per game through four games, while the Eagles were scoring 76.
When the two did ultimately face-off, Harding kept the game tight in the opening round, with the final score being 27-23. The Eagles’ opening field goal percentage of 64% was remarkable. The Eagles continued to excel in the following quarter, easily dominating the Bison, outscoring them 28-14.
It would be hard for the Bison to get the game back with their season on the line with an 18-point lead set at halftime.
The Bison struggled mightily in the third quarter, outscoring the Eagles 28-24, and their first break didn’t come until the fourth quarter when the Eagles were up by 22 points.
The Eagle attack hit a wall in the final 10 minutes, scoring just seven points when the Bison scored 16. The Bison lost by a score of 13 points, 90-77, despite outscoring the Eagles by nine in the fourth.
With five players scoring in double figures, the Eagles shot 50% from the field and 46% from beyond the arc to win the game. Laina Snyder scored 25, Andi Daugherty scored 23, Maddie Dackin scored 14, Jodi Johnson scored 13, and Kelsey Peare scored 11. Julie Worley, a bench dynamo who scored four points, was the only other Eagles scorer after those five.
Just a few days after sweeping Division II, the Eagles defeated Virginia Union to capture the National Championship.
Ashland Women’s Basketball History: 2017-2018
The Eagles’ appearance in the Elite Eight and beyond this season of Ashland Women’s Basketball would be their last until the 2022–2023 season.
The Eagles defeated Montana State Billings in the Elite Eight with a final score of 91–73. They would go to the Final Four and face Indiana (Pa.) after gaining confidence from an 18-point victory.
With a 30-3 overall record coming into their clash with the Eagles, the Indiana (Pa.) Crimson Hawks had lost exactly three games in each of their previous four Final Four meetings.
In the Elite Eight, the Crimson Hawks narrowly defeated Stonehill in the opening game with a score of 75-71.
The Eagles were the overwhelming favorite going into the game because they had previously defeated the Crimson Hawks by a wide margin.
The Eagles took an early 11-point lead after outscoring the Crimson Hawks 26-15 in the opening period. The Crimson Hawks sent the Eagles to the free throw line 4 times, and those trips cost the Eagles seven points, which was a significant deciding factor. The Crimson Hawks calmed down in the game’s second ten minutes and only lost by one point, 16-15.
The Eagles were ahead of the Crimson Hawks 42-30 at halftime, with the gap at 12.
The Eagles just pushed on the pedal, blowing out their opponent by 24 points to end the game, knowing that the Crimson Hawks needed momentum to change if they wanted to secure their place in the National Championship.
The Eagles finished with a field goal percentage of 51% and a free throw percentage of 19 of 22. The Crimson Hawks only managed a 37% field goal percentage and a 25% three-point shooting percentage.
Laina Snyder and Andi Daugherty combined for 44 of Ashland’s 92 points, making them the game’s top scorers.
Their success was short-lived, however, as Central Missouri ended the program’s 73-game winning streak just one game later in the national championship.
4-0 in the final four games of Ashland Women’s Basketball as a whole
- 2011–2012: Bentley was defeated 77–62. Shaw was defeated in the National Championship, 88-82.
- 2012–2013: 66–54 victory over Western Washington. against Dowling, won the national championship, 71-56
- 2016–2017: Harding defeated, 90–77. defeated Virginia Union to win the national championship, 93-77
- 2017-2018: 92-68 victory over Indiana (Pa.). Central Missouri was defeated in the National Championship, 66-52.
- 2022-2023: vs. Glenville State, TBD