Snyder and Daugherty continue to dominate

Noah Cloonan

Scoring 1,000 points in college basketball is not an easy task. Reaching that mark in just your junior season is even more impressive, but few have been able to do what Laina Snyder and Andi Daugherty have done this season.

Snyder was the first to reach the 1,000 point mark in the second game of the season against Alderson-Broaddus. Daugherty was not far behind as she did the exact same thing exactly two weeks later as she became the 19th player in program history to reach the 1,000 point mark.

The junior tandem has been a force since they first stepped on campus in the fall of  2014. In 2014, head coach at the time, Sue Ramsey, immediately instituted the two into regular playing time as freshmen.

They did not disappoint as they helped to lead the Eagles to a 25-9 record and a runner up finish in the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament.

Daugherty played and started in all 34 games in the 2014 season, averaging 12.2 points per game (ppg). Snyder started 26 games and came off the bench in the other eight games as she averaged 14.2 ppg.

“We were blessed with the opportunity to play our freshmen year and play a lot,” Daugherty said, “And it’s continued on, so we both scored 1,000 points early in our junior year because of how much we played.”

The tandem is more than just a dynamic scoring duo as they each averaged 8.6 rebounds per game (rpg).

Coming into their sophomore season there was a high expectation for the duo after their performance in their freshmen campaigns and they lived up to those expectations.

Daugherty paced the team at 15.9 ppg with Snyder right on her heals at 15.1 ppg. Snyder was nearly a double double machine as she also averaged 9.2 rebounds per game. Daugherty also pulled down 7.6 rpg.

The two started all 33 games that season for the Eagles and led them to a 31-2 record and a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship.

In 2016 both Snyder and Daugherty returned for their junior season ready to make a deep run in the tournament. Despite playing the same position the forwards have had different roles and realize the value of playing alongside of each other.

“Andi was out all of the preseason and I’ve always appreciated playing with her but not until she is gone do you fully appreciate what you have in her as a teammate,” Snyder said.

Aside from reaching the 1,000 point mark the duo has continued to stand out in all aspects of the game.

Snyder is nearly averaging a double double this season. She averages 16.6 ppg and 8.4 rpg for the Eagles. Snyder has five double doubles in just eight games.

Daugherty is averaging 15.1 ppg to go alongside 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

Head coach, Robyn Fralick has said it best when she said that both players were better as sophomores than they were as freshmen and that they are better now than they were a year ago. This is just a testament to how much work they have put in during the season and in the off-season to improve their game.

“Last summer I went to her house once a week, she has a court outside her house and we would play and by the end of the summer I was like I’m so done with this just let me play someone else who makes me feel good about myself,” Snyder said.

The duo puts countless hours in the gym but they don’t shy away from friendly competition to make themselves better. This competition is very familiar to Snyder and Daugherty as they matched up against one another for all four years in high school.

“I’m thankful to be on her team,” Daugherty said. “I played against Laina all four years in high school and when we decided we were going to the same college it was really exciting. We play really well together.”

The competitiveness between them has never dwindled as they will continue to match up against them in a friendly game of one-on-one.

“We hang out in the summer and we play a lot of one-on-one,” Daugherty said. “I’m thankful when the season comes around that I have to stop playing her and I get to play with her.”

Snyder and Daugherty have the utmost respect and trust in one another and that shows on the court.

“My ability to pass her the ball and just say ‘go score’ and know that she will score and have that trust and that faith in her that if I get her the ball that’s two points for us,” Snyder said.

Daugherty and Snyder are the first girls in AU history to both score 1,000 points in their junior year during the same season. Kari Daugherty and Daiva Gerbec are the only other pair of players to both score 1,000 points as teammates, but they each did so in their senior seasons.

Fralick explained that the way they play together is an art form. They are able to pass the ball to each other in spaces that would be impossible for any other player to do. This has allowed them to develop into one of the best front courts in all of college hoops and has allowed them to set the bar high for their team.

“Collectively as a team we want to win a national championship,” Daugherty said. “Last year it’s something that we were around the bush about, we never really said it, and we’ve come in with the mentality that we have a lot of returners and a really good freshman class coming in and that’s our potential.”