Ashland makes a second-half run to overtake Gannon 74-63 in quarterfinals
SAN ANTONIO -- The Ashland Eagles overcame a tentative first half to beat the Gannon Golden Knights 74-63 in the Tuesday quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Championship at Bill Greehey Arena.
Ashland (35-1), a No. 1 seed and the 2012 runner-up, takes on another No. 1 seed, Western Washington, in the semifinals at 9:30 p.m. ET Wednesday. The other semifinal, starting at 7 p.m. will pit No. 3-seed Dowling against No. 6-seed Augustana. Gannon completed its campaign with a 31-5 record.
Down 31-25 after the first half of play, the Eagles went on a 30-6 scoring spree to take an 18-point lead 55-37 with 10:40 remaining in the game. After that point, Gannon could get no closer than 11 points.
It marked the second time this season the two teams met. Ashland previously beat Gannon 70-59 on Nov. 10 at the Disney Tip-Off Classic.
Ashland head coach Sue Ramsey, in her 17th season as the Eagles mentor, was pleased with how her charges rallied from a deficit.
"I was very proud of how this team stayed composed," Ramsey said. "I think that was one of the keys to our success. We weren't rattled, and we knew we weren't playing our best basketball. Our defense locked down in the second half, and that allowed us to make a run."
Eagles senior forward Daiva Gerbec led the game with 23 points, shooting 10 of 16 from the field and pulling in eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Tailor Woods was two rebounds from a triple-double, as she grabbed eight boards, scored 21 points and dished out 10 assists. Senior forward Kari Daugherty, ranked third in DII scoring, put out a double-double, with 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Daugherty was a member of last year's team, which lost in overtime 88-82 in last year's final to Shaw.
"I think this year, everyone is really focused," Daugherty said. "Not to say we weren't focused last year, but I think the newness of it was raw and new. This year, with having experience, we knew how to maintain focus a little bit more. When we got down [to Tuesday's game], we had to take one position at a time, and we did a very good job of maintaining composure."
Gannon, which lost 97-94 to Emporia State in the 2010 national semifinals, was paced by senior guard Doriyon Glass with 17 points. Sophomore guard Brittany Batts was the only other player in double figures with 13 points. Sophomore forward Nettie Blake led Gannon in rebounds with eight.
Ashland shot 43.3 percent from the field (26 of 60) and Gannon hit 42;9 percent (24 of 56). The Eagles led 42-26 in rebounding, and held a key advantage of 17-7 in offensive boards.