Eagle women heading to dance in NCAA Division II Elite Eight

The Eagles now sit 34-0 on the season


Brynn Meisse

The Eagles celebrate a Midwest Regional Championship on Monday, March 13.

Ethan Jenkins, Reporter

On Monday night the No. 1 seeded Ashland University women’s basketball team had the opportunity to defend Kates Gymnasium for the final time this year in the Midwest Regional Tournament Final game.

The Eagles took on the No. 3 seed Grand Valley State University Lakers, who were also the No. 5 team in the country.

The matchup was fit to the billing as the contest came down to the final moments, but in the first quarter, the Eagles got out to a hot start taking a 4-point lead into the second quarter.

Savaya Brockington, who stepped into the starting point guard role, for the injured Morgan Yoder, rose to the occasion in the early going scoring 7 out of the 12 first-quarter points.

In the second quarter, the script was flipped and Grand Valley locked down the clamps on defense, outscoring the Eagles 21-11 in the second stanza.

At the halftime break Head Coach Kari Pickens needed her team to respond to the largest deficit they faced in the contest, “we really let them get loose for some threes in the second quarter, and I think if we take that away and clean it up a bit, we will be a lot better in the second half,” said Pickens.

The team responded coming out of the locker room with multiple threes by Maddie Maloney, Hallie Heidemann and Annie Roshak, which was part of a 22-9 run in the 3rd quarter.

Going down the stretch in the final ten minutes of the game, the Lakers kept nearing the Eagles but were never able to tie the game.

Grand Valley trailed by one point left, 58-59, with 12 seconds left in the game. Junior Macy Spielman was fouled just seconds later and went to the line to shoot two pivotal free throws, sinking both.

“I wanted to step up big for my team…It’s one of those moments you live for,” said Spielman.

The Eagles then defended the last possession they needed to in the waning moments of the contest and the score was final at 61-58.

Without the 2nd half comeback, the Eagles’ season would have come to an end, but with adjustments the offense held on, “in the second half, we just dominated it. Grand Valley is a great defensive team, but we stayed poised through it all,” said Pickens.

Ashland moves on to the Elite Eight where they will take on an opponent yet determined on Monday, March 20, time TBA in St. Joseph, Missouri.