Ashland advances past Bentley
Eagles’ Daughtery finishes with 31 points, 22 rebounds
SAN ANTONIO -- Ashland outlasted a fierce Bentley full-court press on its way to a 77-62 win on Wednesday night in an NCAA seminfinal game.
It was Ashland's 33rd consecutive win and earned the Eagles an spot in the national championship game.
Kari Daugherty matched a career high with 31 points and finished with 22 rebounds, just one shy of the all-time NCAA Tournament single-game record. Jena Stutzman tallied 22 points, including four 3-pointers in the game.
The Eagles (33-1) scored 15 of the game's first 17 points and led 33-13 with 6:32 to play in the first half.
The Falcons (31-4) started to claw their way back into the game using a suffocating full-court pressure.
Bentley cut the lead to five, 35-30 with 35 seconds left in the first half, but Stutzman's 3-pointer on the Eagles' final possession pushed the lead to eight, 38-30 going into the lockerroom.
Bentley cut the lead to three, 40-37 tow minutes into the second half, again using a full-court press to force the Eagles into mistakes. (AU turned the ball over 15 times).
Ashland remained steady, never letting the lead slip under four points the rest of the game. The Falcons had the ball and had whittled the AU lead down to six, 57-51 with 7:46 to remaining, but the Eagles forced a miss and Daugherty grabbed the rebound.
The Eagles rattled off the next six points with Stutzman hitting a mid-range pull-up jumper, Alyssa Miller hitting a pair of free throws and Ashley Dorner knocking down an 18-footer off of a feed from Miller.
Dorner finished with 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting from the floor and added four rebounds. Miller scored eight points, pulled down six rebounds and dished out five assists. Daugherty added six assists of her own.
The Eagles sank six of their last seven free throws down the stretch to close the game.
Bentley had eight offensive rebounds in the first half, but only managed six second-chance points. The Eagles tightened up on the glass in the second half, allowing just three offensive boards and winning the rebounding battle overall, 44-33.
This women's basketball team is the first in school history to play in a national championship game. Their 33 consecutive wins are the most in AU history, regardless of sport.