basketball-women-d2 flag | March 24, 2018

Central Mo. ends Ashland's record win streak to win DII title

Central Missouri upsets Ashland, 66-52
Central Missouri outlasts Union, 70-57

It was an upset of historic proportions Friday night from Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. No. 6 Central Missouri ended No. 1 Ashland’s 73-game winning streak to win the 2018 Division II Women’s Basketball Championship. The Jennies never lost their lead after the first quarter, rising victorious 66-52.

The game started out as most Ashland games do. Ashland jumped out to a 16-8 lead, opening the game a perfect 7-for-7 from the field. The Eagles were winning the turnover edge and came out running the tempo.

Central Missouri quickly turned things around and started to chip away at the Eagles lead. The Jennies did so by successfully breaking the press, creating easy open looks in the paint. The Jennies took a 35-31 lead into the half. Thirty-two of the 35 points came in the paint, in large part thanks to beating Ashland's normally furious press.

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UCM never relented. But despite maintaining the lead the rest of the way, Ashland never went away. The game was close through the third and much of the fourth quarter. Ashland was plagued by some bad luck, shooting just 14-for-58 (24.1 percent) after opening the game perfect from the field. The Eagles missed over 20 layups as the basket seemingly spit out normally successful shots for the top-scoring offense in the land.

The Eagles cut the lead to three with 2:21 but Megan Skaggs took over and essentially ended the game herself. The sophomore guard scored nine points in a row, the last seven in the final two minutes to give the Jennies a double-digit lead. The winning streak was over, and Central Missouri is the 2018 national champions.

What a grand finale to the 2018 DII women's basketball season. All the kudos in the world to Ashland for what the Eagles accomplished over the past two seasons, but that just speaks volumes to what the Jennies pulled off on Friday night in Sioux Falls. For the first time since 1984, the Central Missouri Jennies are the DII women's basketball national champions.

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