Ohio Dominican (8-15, 5-15)
A crowd of 1,762 packed Kates Gymnasium on Feb. 21 to celebrate Senior Night and the return of senior forward Kari Daugherty from injury, but Ohio Dominican nearly spoiled the party.
Ashland withstood a second-half surge by the Panthers that brought them within five points, pulling away in the final minutes for a 62-49 victory.
Daugherty was terrific in her return from a left knee sprain, coming near a double-double with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds in just 21 minutes.
She was honored before the game along with fellow seniors Daiva Gerbec, Lindsay Tenyak, Ashley Dorner, Kaci Finfrock and Beth Mantkowski.
“These young ladies put a lot into this program,” Ashland head coach Sue Ramsey said.
The Eagles struggled shooting the ball, making just 41.4 percent (24 of 58) from the field and 21.1 percent (4 of 19) from behind the 3-point line.
That allowed ODU to come back from a 20-3 deficit early on to make it 45-40 in favor of the Eagles with 9:39 to play.
After that, AU went on a 10-0 run to take back control of the game.
“I’m proud of the way our team responded and found a way to win this game,” Ramsey said.
Sophomore guard Taylor Woods was crucial to the win, drawing several fouls that helped get the Eagles into the bonus and stretch out the lead.
Though she struggled from deep (1 of 7), Woods finished with 14 points and went 5 of 7 from the free throw line.
“She’s done a lot of growing up through the season and I thought that maturity showed,” Ramsey said.
Gerbec came near a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds.
The Eagles were outrebounded for just the second time all year (37-35) and gave up 14 offensive rebounds to the Panthers.
Daugherty was efficient, going 7 of 12 from the field, 2 of 4 from deep and 2 of 2 from the free throw line. At the beginning of the second half, she scored on three straight possessions to push the Eagles’ lead to 18 (40-22).
Kacee Hockenberry had 13 points to lead the Panthers and Melissa Scherpenberg had a big game off the bench with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
At Tiffin (11-13, 8-12)
With just two more regular season games left, Ashland looked to get back in synch Feb. 23 at Tiffin.
After falling behind 2-0 early, Daugherty sparked the Eagles will all 10 points in a 10-0 run and AU rolled to a 77-46 victory over the Dragons
The win clinched Ashland’s second consecutive regular season GLIAC crown and with it home-court advantage for the conference tournament.
Daugherty started the game on fire, hitting her first four shots from the field and 10 of 13 in the first half. She had 26 of a game-high 28 points in the first period and finished with seven rebounds.
Gerbec had a double-double with 19 points and 18 rebounds to go along with four steals, two blocks and two assists.
Miller led the backcourt with 10 points and set an Ashland record with 15 assists while turning the ball over just once.
Woods only had one turnover as well on her way to six points, four rebounds and three assists on a night when she struggled from the field (2 of 11).
Daugherty, while productive, was not flawless. She had a team-high five turnovers as she continued to acclimate to game action.
At Lake Erie (4-22, 2-20)
After a weeklong break, the Eagles kept their momentum going with an 80-54 win over lowly Lake Erie in the last game of the regular season.
Ashland jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the opening three-and-a-half minutes thanks to four made 3-pointers.
Four AU players reached double figures led by Woods with 16 points, five steals, three assists and two rebounds.
Daugherty—who has yet to record a double-double since her return—came close again with 13 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals in just 21 minutes.
Miller and Tenyak each had 13 points as well. Miller added five assists and three rebounds.
Tenyak was deadly from deep, draining 4 of 8 attempts from behind the 3-point line. She also had four steals.
Gerbec rounded out the starting lineup with six points and nine rebounds, but the scoring did not stop there.
Five Eagles scored off the bench, including Dorner (eight points) and sophomore forward Melanie Poorman (four).
Ali Gagne led the Storm with 12 points off the bench.
The Eagles hosted Northern Michigan on Wednesday in the opening round of the GLIAC tournament.
With a win, the Eagles will play host to the conference semifinals and championship to be held Saturday and Sunday in Kates Gymnasium.