AU defeats Ferris State for 800th program victory



Dean Paolucci, Reporter

The No. 1 Ashland University women’s basketball team picked up their seventh straight win on the season and their second conference win of the year, after defeating the Ferris State Bulldogs 94-60 in Kate’s Gymnasium in Saturday (Dec. 1). The victory marked the Eagle’s 800th program win, becoming the 15th program in the country to do so.

“We talked before the game about tradition and how it’s about having a set of behaviors and buying into those beliefs,” AU head coach Kari Pickens said following the 800th victory in program history. “Ashland women’s basketball has a tradition, and so it’s really cool to have been able to be a part of this small bit of history.”

The Eagles (7-0, 2-0 GLIAC) victory against the Bulldogs (4-3, 1-1 GLIAC) also marked the 44th straight home win at Kate’s Gymnasium, tying a team record that stretches back from Feb. 3, 2011 to Nov. 9, 2013.

“It’s been a great start to the season, and a great start to conference play,” Pickens said. “Our girls love the Eagle gym, that’s for sure. It is fun to be able to play in front of this community.”

The start to the game began in favor of the Bulldogs, who scored the first five points of the game and forced the Eagles to call a timeout, just two minutes in.

The Eagles stood their ground and ended the first quarter of play on a 21-7 run, leading 21-12, after making eight of their last 11 shots to end the quarter.

By the end of the first half, the Eagles were leading the Bulldogs 48-27, primarily due to a 58% shooting performance from the field. The defense was also on display early for Ashland, who accumulated 18 turnovers against a struggling Bulldogs offense.

Coming out of the halftime break, the offense of Ashland did not cool down, scoring the first seven points of the quarter. The Eagles led after three quarters of play 76-39 due to junior guard Jodi Johnson who tied her career-high in points in a game with 31.

In their 94-60 victory, the Eagles had four scorers in double-figures and shot a combined 56.3% from the field.

Defense-to-offense was a main priority for the Eagles who were able to come away with 19 steals and forced 30 turnovers in the game, turning that into a grand total of 38 points off turnovers.

The scoring outing from Johnson of 31 points moves her into sole possession for 10th place in all-time scoring in Ashland women’s basketball history, passing Sue Rupp who set the record back in 1987. Johnson made her presence known on the defensive end as well, with seven rebounds and five steals.

Senior guard Brooke Smith tied her season-high, scoring 12 points and making four three-point shots. Junior guard Renee Stimpert was also able to put up her second straight double-double, scoring 10 points and dishing out 10 assists to her fellow teammates.

The Ferris State Bulldogs struggled against the Eagles, only shooting 38.6% from the field and turning the ball over 30 times to the Eagles. The silver lining for the Bulldogs was forcing the Eagles to turn the ball over twenty times on offense.

Sophomore guard Adrienne Anderson led the way for the Bulldogs in scoring with 12 points, their only scorer in double figures.

The Eagles look to improve their win-streak to eight games when the team confronts their first GLIAC road test of the season, traveling to Grand Valley State University to take on the No. 16 Lakers on Thursday (Dec. 6) at 6 pm.