Eagles defeat Malone and look forward to rival Findlay

Noah Cloonan

It was a close game all the way through but the undefeated Eagles were able to bear down and come away with a tough road win over Malone.

The Eagles move to 16-0 overall and 10-0 in the GLIAC after their 97-84 win over the Pioneers. Malone moves to 5-10 overall and 2-8 in the GLIAC.

The Pioneers shot the ball extremely well forcing Ashland to follow suit and that led to a shootout. The Eagles led 22-18 at the end of the first quarter as Malone came out strong.

The Pioneers closed the lead to 37-36 with 2:19 seconds left in the half, but the Eagles were able to close the half on high note and pushed the halftime lead to 44-36.

The Eagles came out of halftime and brought the lead to 15 and from there they never looked back. Ashland held off a late rally by the Pioneers and cruised to the victory.

“It was a good team win, we played really well offensively we shot the ball really well, Malone also played very well offensively,” said Coach Robyn Fralick. “It was a bit of a shoot-out, but we made enough plays to find a way to win.”

 It was a game full of season highs for the Eagles. Mckenzie Miller had a career game posting a game high 26 points as well as dishing out 6 assists.

 “Kenzie has been playing great,” said Fralick. “She is playing loose and fearless. She is doing a good job passing the ball”

As a team the Eagles posted a season high 31 assists led by Junior guard Alex Henning with 8.

“One of the big pieces of our program is that we are going to trust ball movement,” said Fralick. “I thought its something we did particularly well against Malone, really moving the ball and getting great shots.” 

Playing together as a team has been a strength of this Eagles team throughout the season. The team is third in NCAA Division II in Assists and Assists per game and this has been a big contributor to their success throughout the year. 

“The biggest focus and feedback coming out of that game, is we need to do a better job defensively,” said Coach Robyn Fralick. 

On the defensive side of the ball the Eagles had an off night, allowing a season high 84 points. This is unusual for the Eagles as they only give up an average of 56.9 points per game and Fralick said that defense is something they always work on and will continue to work on it as they get ready for Findlay (11-5, 6-4) on Thursday.

The schedule does not get any easier for the Eagles as they get set to head up to Findlay for a rivalry matchup against the Oilers.

Not only is this a rivalry game, but it also has bigger implications for the Eagles. In the 2012-13 season when the Eagles won the National Championship their only loss of the season was to the Oilers.

“Findlay is naturally a rival,” said Fralick. “But this team is its own team they have their own identity.”

Coach Fralick said that she will not approach this game any differently than any other game and will have her team prepared to play. 

“We have two tough road games”, said Fralick. “They are both very good, they’re both very athletic, but that’s the deal when you play in the GLIAC.”

After the rivalry game against Findlay on Thursday the Eagles will travel to Wayne State (7-9, 2-8) to take on the Warriors on Saturday.