SAN ANTONIO -- Senior forward Kari Daugherty has gone from a Dayton Flyer to an Ashland Eagle.

Prior to last season, when Daugherty decided to leave the Dayton for Ashland -- crowned as the new NCAA Division II champion Friday with a 71-56 victory against Dowling -- the Eagle fans couldn't have been more excited.

A Fresno, Ohio, resident, Daugherty helped lead Ashland to the NCAA championship game in 2012 (Ashland lost 88-82 in overtime to Shaw.). She was named an All-American, and elected as the WBCA Player of the Year, as well as leading the nation in rebounding and double-doubles.

This season was not much different for the 6-foot-1 Daugherty, except that Ashland emerged as the national champion. Daugherty was named the national player of the year, and also was selected as the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player for the second consecutive time. In Friday's victory versus Dowling, Daugherty registered her NCAA-best 25th double-double of the campaign, with 26 points (11-19 shooting) and 12 rebounds. Prior to the championship matchup, Daugherty was ranked third in scoring (22.2 points per game) and second in rebounds per game (13.8 per game).

But why did Daugherty decide to leave the Division I Dayton team, and transfer to Ashland? She had success at Dayton, being named to the All-Atlantic 10 Rookie Team her freshman season. Her sophomore year, Daugherty was elected to the CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-District. In addition, Daugherty's older sister, Kristin, had been a teammate. She finished her career as Dayton's fifth all-time leading scorer.

"I picked the University of Dayton because of my sister," Kari Daugherty said. "She graduated after my sophomore year, and I had a hard time. I got homesick a lot. I also had grown in my faith, and I felt isolated. I wanted a place where I could grow in my faith, and a place that was closer to home [ an hour away]. Being able to watch my two little siblings grow up meant a lot to me. Ashland was the perfect fit, just the way coach [Sue] Ramsey runs her program. God aligned things up pretty nicely."

Daugherty comes from a basketball-playing family, including her sister. Her dad, Bill, played basketball at Wilmington College (1982-1986) and is a member of the school's hall of fame. Her mom, Caroline, played at Ohio University and is also a hall-of-famer at the school.

Later this spring, Daugherty will graduate from Ashland with a degree in middle grades education. She is not sure exactly what she will do - because of the matter of focusing on the championship season - but would like to play basketball.

Daugherty does have an appointment with Brad Pickens in July, however, as the two will marry. As Daugherty said, "I am getting married to the most wonderful man I have ever met."