LIVE: AU women’s basketball travels to Elite Eight & Final Four

Elite Eight, Final Four and Eagle season updates


Brynn Meisse

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

Cade Cracas, Ethan Jenkins and Brynn Meisse, Sports and Features Editors

The Ashland University women’s basketball team has had itself an exciting 2022-2023 season. On top of the team’s undefeated season, a Great Midwest Athletic Conference Championship and a Midwest Regional Tournament Championship, the Eagles are headed to St. Joseph, Missouri, to compete in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.

While the coverage will be far and wide of a tournament consisting of just eight of the best teams in the country, Ashland University’s Journalism and Digital Media department, which has covered the team for the entire season, will be following the team every step of the way.

Below is full LIVE coverage, updates and stories relating to the No. 1 team in the country and its supporters.

Ashland University Eagles vs. Glenville State Pioneers, NCAA Division II Final Four
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The Eagles head to National Championship after taking down Pioneers

The Eagles beat the Pioneers, 76-67

written by Cade Cracas, posted: 11:45 p.m. March 22nd

The Ashland University women’s basketball team just cannot stop winning as in the Final Four of the NCAA Division II Tournament the Eagles took down the reigning National Champions, 76-67.

After taking down UT Tyler in the Elite Eight, it would be no tough task for the Eagles to beat the fast-paced Glenville State Pioneers.

“They are going to press from start to finish and make you play really fast. We are going to need to take care of the ball well,” said Eagles’ Head Coach Kari Pickens.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, they were unable to handle the ball in the ways they wanted to as they started the game with eight turnovers in the first quarter of play. Although they had a handful of turnovers, they finished the quarter leading by three, 17-14.

In the second quarter, the Eagles really started to adjust to that fast-paced playstyle the Pioneers have utilized all season long as the team started to find its footing. They were able to outscore the Pioneers at a 24-13 margin, sending themselves into halftime up by 14 points.

Guard Savaya Brockington led the way for the team as she recorded eight points while dishing off five assists. What made her performance even more impressive was her playing through an ankle injury. At times, she would even grit her teeth in pain while running up and down the court.

“The toughness and selflessness she showed, showed how much of a team player she is,” said guard Hallie Heidemann.

Alongside Heidemann, forward Annie Roshak was impressed with the determination shown.

“I was taking out the ball one time and I said ‘dang you have to work so hard to get open and I am so thankful that you guys are willing to work to do whatever it takes,” said Roshak. “The fight that they have and how hard they work for the team resembles the saying that the strength of the team makes the team.”

In the second half, the Eagles continued to work their way out of the full-court press and started the third quarter on a 6-0 run to put themselves up by 20 points.

After that though, the Eagles would score just six points through the rest of the quarter while allowing 17. Pioneer guard Breanna Campbell shined scoring eight of the 17 points. While the Pioneers brought the contest’s margin down to single digits, the Eagles still led by nine points heading into the final 10 minutes.

With the final 10 minutes finally underway and the season on the line, the Pioneers would not go away. The deficit between the two sides always favored the Eagles, but the Pioneers brought it back within four points multiple times. For the Eagles, they continued to relentlessly push the lead forward and would not allow their opponent to get any close than that four-point differential.

In the end, foul trouble for the Pioneers plagued them down the stretch as the Eagles made eight points from the charity stripe. Alongside the free throws, Roshak’s leadership and confidence played a big part in the Eagles holding their own.

“I really love to win, I am not going to lie. [I’ll be] Doing whatever the team needs, but I know that in crunch time I am going to do whatever it takes to win,” she said. “I love being the fire and being able to help when I can.”

She would record seven points on 3-of-3 from the field and go 1-of-2 from the free-throw line over the course of the final five minutes of the contest. The Eagles, while shooting 49% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc, held the Pioneers to just 34% from the field and 24% from three-point range.

The Eagles were led by Roshak who recorded 17 points and 10 rebounds, while counterpart Hayley Smith added on 15 points and 16 rebounds in the victory. Guards Hallie Heidemann and Savaya Brockington combined for 29 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds, showcasing how on-the-ball the Eagle starters were.

They next look to travel to Dallas, Texas, for the D-II National Championship where they will face up against the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs.

“With our current team, our team is banged up and our players fought through it,” said Pickens. “I am hoping with the 10-day break and extra preparation our girls will be able to be healthy and ready to go.”

The history of AU women’s basketball in the Final Four

Four trips, four wins for the Eagles in the Final four

written by Cade Cracas, posted: 2:30 p.m. March 22nd

Ashland University’s women’s basketball team is no stranger to appearing in the Final Four of the NCAA Division II Postseason Tournament. In the history of the program, they’ve taken five trips to the Elite Eight, now five trips to the Final Four and four trips to the National Championship.

In their newest pathway to the tournament, the Eagles routed a 35-0 undefeated season under Head Coach Kari Pickens and will look to take on the defending National Champions in the Glenville State Pioneers.

While recent success is well known by those who follow the Eagles, the history of the team in the Final Four may not be.

Through four appearances, the Eagles are undefeated in the big game leading up to a National Championship appearance.


During the 2011-2012 season, the Eagles made their first appearance in the Elite Eight and beyond. Prior to this season, the program had not found success to this extent, putting its mark on Division II for years to come.

In the Final Four, the Eagles took up a tough opponent in Bentley after going 32-1 on the season up until that point. Bentley came into the two’s meetup at an overall record of 31-3. With two teams dominating D-II that season, it was bound to be a back-and-forth competitive matchup.

In the first half, the Eagles would go into halftime with a 38-30 lead over the Falcons. With forward Kari Daugherty (Pickens) dominating in the scoring column, the Eagles finished the half shooting a stellar 49% from the field. On the other side of things, the Falcons struggled shooting just 31% from the field and 23% from beyond the arc.

However, just like the first half, the Eagles would dominate with a final scoreline for Daugherty sitting at 31 points on 13-of-24 from the field. On top of her jaw-dropping point total, she would also haul in 22 rebounds for the Eagles, leading them to a 77-62, 15-point win.

Alongside her performance, guard Jena Stutzman knocked down 4-of-9 three-pointers to go alongside 22 points.

The team would finish the game shooting 50% from the field and 33% from beyond the arc while holding the Falcons to just 31% from both the field and beyond the arc.

Their victory would send them to the National Championship for the first time in program history.


This season saw just one loss for the Eagles, occurring on Valentine’s Day against the Findlay Oilers, en route to a 35-1 overall record heading into the Final Four.

In the Final Four, the Eagles would take on Western Washington.

Western Washington, known as the Vikings, came into the Final Four with a 29-3 overall record. Combined, both teams amassed a 64-4 overall record through the 2012-2013 season, showcasing the dominance in D-II.

However, when the game rolled around, the Eagles would be the more dominant team.

To start the game, the Eagles, led by Kari Daugherty once again, dominated scoring the opening baskets of the contest. While both teams battled back and forth, each team would have its own respective cold streaks over the span of the first 20 minutes. Heading into halftime, the Eagles would have a slight edge over the Vikings with a 10-point lead, 29-19.

The Vikings struggled with the Eagle defense thriving as they held them to just 25% from the field and 0% from beyond the arc on five attempts. With the Vikings now backpedaling and having to rebound at halftime, they would come out in the second half fast.

They came into the next 20 minutes scoring the first 12 of 16 points between the two sides. After the Vikings brought the game closer, the Eagles regained their footing and took back control of the contest. To finish the second half, the Eagles would outscore them 37-35 for a 66-54 victory. After a slow start offensively in the first half, both teams picked it up to finish the game strong.

The Eagles were led by Daugherty’s 24-point and 16-rebound game. Outside of her, there was just one other Eagle that helped exponentially offensively. Forward Daiva Gerbec recorded 19 points and 7 rebounds while shooting 7-of-13 from the field.

The Eagles would go on to win the National Championship that season against Downling, just a few days later.


During the 2016-2017 season, the Eagles were widely regarded as one of the best offenses in the country. With over 15 games finishing with over 100 points scored, the Eagles were bound to make another run for a National Championship, and that they did.

After downing West Texas A&M in the Elite Eight, the Eagles entered into the Final Four up against a tough competitor in the Harding Bisons.

The Bisons went up against the Eagles with a 31-3 overall record on the season.

Heading into the contest of the two, the biggest concern for the Bison would be the lack of offensive production they displayed in the NCAA tournament. Through four games, they were averaging roughly 64 points per game and in comparison, the Eagles were averaging 76.

When the two finally squared off against one another, Harding kept the contest close in the first quarter with the score finishing, 27-23. The Eagles shot an impressive 64% from the field to start. In the second quarter, the Eagles once again shined as they pulled away from the Bison heavily, outscoring them, 28-14.

With an 18-point lead established at halftime, it would be difficult for the Bison to bring the contest back with their season on the line.

In the third quarter, the Bison would not be able to find an ounce of footing as they were outscored 28-24 and their first break would not occur until the fourth quarter with the Eagles leading by 22 points.

Through the last 10 minutes, the Eagle offense hit a wall scoring just seven points while the Bison put up 16. Although the Eagles got outscored by nine in the fourth, it was not enough for the Bison as they fell by 13 points, 90-77.

The Eagles finished the game shooting 50% from the field and 46% from beyond the arc with five double-digit scorers. Those scorers would be; Laina Snyder with 25, Andi Daugherty with 23, Maddie Dackin with 14, Jodi Johnson with 13 and Kelsey Peare with 11. Outside of those five, the Eagles only got points from bench spark Julie Worley who recorded four.

The Eagles, while dominating D-II, would go on to win the National Championship against Virginia Union just days later in dominating fashion.


This season would be the last time until the 2022-2023 season that the Eagles appeared in the Elite Eight and beyond.

In the Elite Eight, the Eagles would take down Montana State Billings, with a 91-73 score to finish the game. After building up confidence in an 18-point win, they would move on to the Final Four to take on Indiana (Pa.).

The Indiana (Pa.) Crimson Hawks entered the contest against the Eagles with a 30-3 overall record, meaning that all four Final Four matchups the Eagles played saw the opponent losing exactly three games on the season.

The Crimson Hawks had a nailbiting opening match against Stonehill in the Elite Eight, just narrowly pulling out a 75-71 victory.

With the Eagles having a blowout win, and the Crimson Hawks having a close-knit contest, the Eagles were the heavy favorite entering into the game.

To start, the Eagles outscored the Crimson Hawks 26-15, taking an early 11-point lead. One of the big separating factors was the Crimson Hawks sending the Eagles to the free throw line four times, as the Eagles took away seven points in those trips. In the second 10 minutes of the game, the Crimson Hawks settled things down and were outscored by just one point, 16-15.

Heading into halftime, the deficit sat at 12, with the Eagles leading 42-30 over the Crimson Hawks.

With momentum needing to shift for the Crimson Hawks if they wanted to find their spot in the National Championship, the Eagles just stepped on the gas, even more, blowing out their opponent by 24 points to finish the game.

The Eagles finished shooting 51% from the field while going 19-of-22 from the charity stripe. For the Crimson Hawks, they shot just 37% from the field and 25% from beyond the arc.

The leading scorers in the game were Laina Snyder and Andi Daugherty who combined for 44 of Ashland’s 92 points.

Their success only lasted so long as the program’s 73-game win streak would end just one game later against Central Missouri in the National Championship.

Overview of Final Four appearances: 4-0

2011-2012: vs. Bentley, 77-62 victory. Lost in National Championship vs. Shaw, 88-82

2012-2013: vs. Western Washington, 66-54. Won the National Championship vs. Dowling, 71-56

2016-2017: vs. Harding, 90-77. Won the National Championship vs. Virginia Union, 93-77

2017-2018: vs. Indiana (Pa.), 92-68. Lost in National Championship vs. Central Missouri, 66-52

202-2023: vs. Glenville State, TBD

Macy Spielman creates her own path en route to Final Four

The Eagles look to utilize bench depth, with Spielman included

written by Olivia Pliske, posted: 1:00 p.m. March 22nd

The name “Spielman” may not come as a surprise to most. To Ashland fans, Ashland Eagles women’s basketball player Macy comes to mind, while to football fans, her dad Chris Spielman may pop into their heads.

Chris Spielman, the former NFL player who was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 1998 draft after having an All-American career as a linebacker at The Ohio State University. 

Spielman has many career-high records with the Lions, where is the all-time leader in career tackles and also led the Lions defense for 8 seasons. 

Following in her father’s footsteps, junior Macy Spielman transferred to Ashland’s program from Bowling Green State University coming. Going into college, Spielman was a second-team All-American out of high school. 

With her success, it’s been clear that athletic genes run strong in the Spielman family, and Macy has very proven that through her hard work and dedication within the Ashland women’s basketball program.

In her first season at AU, Spielman landed in the Great Midwest Atheltic Conference honors, where she averaged 12 points and 3 rebounds per game. She shot 57.0 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from the 3-point range. On top of that, she had a team-best of shooting 87.0 percent from the free-throw line. 

With such a historic athletic history in the Spielman family,  she has felt the competitiveness since day one.

“Growing up, I have always played with a certain intensity that has been instilled in my family, it was either all effort all the time or you would be taken out of a game, even if that was just a game being played in the backyard,” she said. “That’s something that I have always appreciated about my family. It’s all in all the time and not just with sports.”

Spielman then went on to explain how she believes that pressure is something she enjoys.

“Pressure is a privilege. It is something I never want to take for granted,” said Spielman.

She also is thankful for the way her family has supported her athletic career and how much it means to her. 

“Yes, I give a ton of credit to my dad and my family, but right now, it’s Ashland,” she said. “My family has helped prepare me for this moment, but right now, it’s Ashland all the time.”

“My dad did really well with recognizing in his sport that it is more than just a sport, how you approach your game is a huge testament to your character and that is something that he never took lightly. When I play my sport I want people to know who I am as a person,” she said. 

“One of the things that I can say about Macy is just her enthusiastic energy to her,” said Head Coach Kari Pickens. “She is just a pure joy to have on the team.”

Macy has proved, much like her dad, what all entails when being an athlete, which will help prove her mark in the Final Four game as they are set to take on Glenville.

“Yes, I give a ton of credit to my dad and my family, but right now, it’s Ashland,” she said. “My family has helped prepare me for this moment, but right now, it’s Ashland all the time.”

Guard Hallie Heidemann leads team in final season with Eagles

Heidemann graduates at the end of the 2022-2023 season

written by Ethan Jenkins, posted: 11:00 a.m. March 22nd

Graduate student guard, Hallie Heidemann, has been a leader for the undefeated Eagles who are only two wins away from a national championship.

Heidemann has been with the Eagles for five seasons, increasing her role in every season she has been with the team.

In her freshman year, Heidemann got into games that were separated by large margins in favor of the Eagles and averaged just over six points a game.

In her second season at AU, Heidemann worked her way into the starting lineup, averaging double figures at 11.7 points per game, and in addition, hit a career-high in three-point percentage at 51.8% from distance.

Head Coach Kari Pickens was complementative of Heidemann’s shooting ability, “with one dribble she’s able to step to the side to still pull it. Her footwork is one of the things that makes her so dynamic because she can get it off so quick,” said Head Coach Kari Pickens.

That season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at the end of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament which the Eagles won with a 61-53 win against the Grand Valley State Lakers.

In her junior campaign with the team, Heidemann increased her point-per-game average by 0.7 points from the season before, then averaging 12.4 points per game, alongside a career-high 3.5 assists per game.

Starting in 25 out of 25 games, Heidemann and the Eagles’ season would come to an end in the Midwest Regional Championship game. That year would be the worst record for the team in Heidemann’s career finishing 16-9 overall, and only winning and not coming away from the year with a GLIAC title.

Going into her upperclassmen years, Heidemann needed to be a leader to turn the program back on the right course.

As for what it means for me in my senior year, I’m just thankful for the opportunity to do it with this team. This group is so much fun and such a gift to be a part of. I wouldn’t want to do one last ride with any other crew,” said Heidemann.

In her senior year, the team bounced back nicely, while winning a GMAC championship.

Then in the Midwest Regional Tournament quarter-final matchup vs Ferris State came the biggest shot of Heidemann’s career. With the Eagles down by two in the final moments of the contest, Heidemann buried a three with just six seconds left.

The Eagles would go on to advance in that game, but lose in the semi-final round to Walsh University. That loss would mark the end of Heidemann’s four years with the Eagles until she decided to give it one last ride with the Eagles as a graduate student.

Heidemann is a team captain this year alongside fellow graduate student Maddie Maloney and senior Sam Chable. 

Heidemann, as she leads the team into the Final Four, is averaging 12.5 points per game on over 50% field goal percentage for the first season in her career. She also continues to be one of the scrappier players on the team this year, battling to get rebounds to earn extra possessions for the undefeated Eagles.

“Getting rebounds often means getting extra possessions, and when our team can get extra possessions, we can usually capitalize and are able to get a higher percentage look,” said Heidemann.

In a game against the Findlay Oilers on Dec. 1, 2022, Heidemann broke the Ashland program three-pointers made in a career and continues to lead and shoot her team through the tournament in March.

Captains Maddie Maloney and Heidemann lead the team, but Maloney is appreciative of Heidemann’s leadership of itself.

“Sam and Hallie, the coaches, they really empower everybody,” said Maloney.

The captains look to lead the team once again into a Final Four matchup against Glenville State on Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. EST, in what will at least be the second to last game of Heidemann’s career.

Eagle sophomore guard Morgan Yoder looks to return to play

Yoder has been a pivotal piece for the Eagles in the 2022-2023 season

written by Olivia Pliske, posted: 9:00 a.m. March 22nd

Sophomore guard Morgan Yoder is set to make her first appearance in the NCAA tournament this Wednesday, March 22nd, in the Final Four game against Glenville State in St. Joseph Missouri. 

Yoder has been inactive since the Great Midwest Athletic Conference title game where she helped lead the team to a victory with a season-high of 18 points, where she was 6-for-11 from the 3-point line. 

“It’s super exciting that our team gets to be here, it’s something that I’ve dreamed of as a little girl of playing college basketball and to be able to make it this far has been great,” said Yoder. 

Yoder, being one of the 5 starters on the Eagle squad this season, has become a key part of the Eagles with 54 three-pointers on the season.

While Yoder has been inactive, transfer Savaya Brockington stepped up and started for the Eagles, which has helped to put them in the Final Four. 

While being inactive, Yoder explained how watching the team from the bench has helped her prepare herself for the upcoming game.

“It’s been a different perspective for me but I have enjoyed every moment,” said Yoder. “Playing the role that I have on the team, whatever it may be, whether I am playing or not, getting to see the joy on my teammates’ faces has been awesome.”

While the process for the sophomore guard has not been extremely long, Yoder stated how her team, coaches, and athletic staff have been supportive and encouraging the entire way. 

“The team has been super supportive with everything that I have had to do. Our trainer has been doing so much for me, everyone has just been super supportive throughout this whole process.” 

The Eagles are set to take on the Glenville State Pioneers Wednesday, March 22nd, with tip-off set for 8:30 central time in St.Joseph, Missouri. 

Head Coach Kari Pickens looks for her third National Championship

Pickens has won a championship as a player and assistant coach, and now looks for one as a head coach

written by Cade Cracas, posted: 8:30 p.m. March 21st

Winning the NCAA National Championship is impressive on its own, but the potential to win three times is historical.

Head Coach Kari Pickens has been a part of the two times the Eagles have won National championships, and now looks to make it a third time.

During the 2011-2012 season, the Eagle basketball team was the national runner-up but finally won its first national championship in the 2012-2013 season.

Out of both of Pickens’ seasons playing for Ashland University, Pickens recorded 1,414 points and 903 rebounds placing her at seventh- and fourth-most all-time at the University. She still currently ranks 10 on Ashland’s All-Time scoring list. 

In the 2013 season, when the team won in San Antonio, Pickens was playing in her final year for the Eagles under Head Coach Sue Ramsey.

“It wasn’t until my senior year of college when I got injured and I had to miss approximately eight games of my senior year that I realized that I loved this game so much and I wanted to be able to continue in it,” she said.

After graduating from AU with her Bachelors, Pickens was offered the opportunity to work as a Graduate Assistant for Ramsey.

“Coach Ramsey created a GA position for me to come back. She went and fundraised the money for me to be in that position,” Pickens explained.

Once Pickens finished her time as a GA, she was then offered a chance to work as the assistant coach alongside former Head Coach Robyn Fralick.

“Robyn Fralick hired me after one year of coaching experience at the college level. She didn’t have to do that,” she said while reminiscing on opportunities given to her.

Pickens was the assistant coach for the Eagles from the 2015 season through the 2018 season. She helped coach the 2017 basketball team to a national championship win in Columbus at Ohio Dominican University.

After the Eagles’ second National Championship win, Fralick went on to coach one more year before Pickens took over as the team’s head coach.

“Al King gave me a job as the head coach after zero college head coaching experience,” Pickens said. “I am really thankful that the Lord continued to open up opportunities for me to walk through and stay on this path and for a tremendous amount of people that believed in me.”

The Eagles are looking to win another national championship with Pickens at the helm this time.

“It’s the same thing as always. It’s a one-game-at-a-time mentality. We don’t want to do anything different this game than we have the other 34 games we have played because what we have done has worked,” she explained. We are prepared. We are ready for this moment and we just have to go out there and play.”

If Pickens were to secure her third National Championship, she would be the only individual across all NCAA Divisions to do it as a player, assistant and head coach.

She will have the opportunity to complete this miraculous achievement if the Eagles are able to take down the defending National Champions, the Glenville State Pioneers, on Wednesday, March 22, in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Eagle Jenna Kotas named Division II Assistant Coach of the Year

Kotas, in her first season apart of the Eagle family, has already made her mark on the program

written by Cade Cracas, posted: 5:00 p.m. March 21st

The Ashland University women’s basketball team found another accolade during its hectic week in St. Joseph, Missouri.

On Tuesday, March 21, Assistant Coach Jenna Kotas of the Eagles was announced as the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Assistant Coach of the Year in her first season with the University.

“I think it is a testament to all the hard work I have been putting in this season,” said Kotas. “Ever since I was a player or an assistant coach, this result goes to the people around me. I don’t win this without the players or coaches around me.”

Prior to joining the Eagles, she served as the University of Illinois Springfield assistant coach and as the assistant at Purdue Northwest women’s basketball program. She served three seasons at UIS and one at Purdue Northwest. Outside of those two teams, she spent time with Dubuque for one season and two seasons at Benedictine as the assistant.

Before being a coach, she was a player at Division III schools Clarke and Dubuque. During her playing career, she was an All-American honorable mention.

After garnering tremendous experience, Ashland University decided to bring her in as the assistant coach in the offseason before the 2022-2023 season.

Alongside Head Coach Kari Pickens and Graduate Assistant Erin Daniels, Kotas has helped lead the team to a 35-0 overall record and an NCAA Division II Final Four appearance this season.

“It is awesome, I have never experienced this [an undefeated season] and not a lot of people can say they can,” she said.

The award she received, given by the WBCA, recognizes an individual that reinforces a positive student-athlete environment with encouragement, excellence, structure, security, support and integrity.

She will now look to help the Eagles find a National Championship by taking down Glenville State in the Final Four, Wednesday, March 22 at 8:30 p.m. CST / 9:30 p.m. EST.

“What we are doing right now, competing for a national championship, we’ve got one more test in front of us and that’s Glenville State,” she said.

Ashland University gears up for Final Four vs. Glenville State

The Eagles and Pioneers will take on one another for the first time in program history

written by Ethan Jenkins, posted: 2:30 p.m. March 21st

On Monday, March 20 the Ashland University Women’s basketball team advanced to the Final Four winning 81-72 against UT Tyler.

The Eagles are now set to face the Glenville State Pioneers, the reigning national champions. This is the first meeting between the two squads ever, with two top programs in Division II going against each other.

The 34-0 undefeated season will be on the line for the Eagles, against the Pioneers who sit at a record of 33-2 coming into Wednesday’s contest.

Glenville State, after going the distance a season ago, had all 5 starters leave the program, and Head Coach Kim Stephens has had to use a strategy you don’t see very often in basketball to continue the success of the program.

The Pioneers play ten players every game, within two groups of five. There are no individual substitutions for the team, as the two groups of five stay together almost all of the time.

Glenville State also loves to utilize the full-court trap defensive strategy to slow down opponent offenses.

“Glenville State is going to press us from start to finish, taking care of the ball is going to be huge against them,” said Head Coach Kari Pickens.

The Pioneers are currently forcing 27 turnovers per game by opponents on the season and will look to cause a lot of turnovers against the Eagles who are averaging just under 14 turnovers per contest.

For comparison, the University of Tampa Spartans average 0.3 fewer turnovers per game than the Eagles this season. Still, in their Elite Eight matchup with the Pioneers, they coughed up the basketball 26 times.

“Glenville State just makes you play very fast, we have to be ready for that,” said Pickens.

Ball handling is going to be a key element to break the trap of the Pioneers, and right now it is still unknown whether Eagles starting point guard Morgan Yoder will be able to play on Wednesday night. 

If the Eagles can’t rely on their starting point guard, they will potentially go to Annie Roshak once again, who against UT Tyler, scored 24 points alongside 10 rebounds.

The No. 1 seeded Eagles are set to take on the No. 5 seed Pioneers in a Final Four matchup on Wednesday, March 22, with tipoff set for 9:30 p.m. EST and 8:30 local time in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Watch, Listen AND Follow

Watch: Game on CBS Sports Network

Listen: (pregame starts at 9:15 EST)


The ‘Purple Swarm’ travels to St. Joseph for the Eagles

The Eagle faithful hope to make each road game, feel like home

written by Brynn Meisse, posted: 1:30 p.m. March 21st

When the Eagles won their Elite Eight game last night it was almost like the team was in Kate’s Gymnasium back in Ashland, Ohio. 

The arena was filled with fans dressed in purple and gold who made the 11-hour drive to St. Joseph, Missouri. However, a lot of planning went into making the arena feel a little bit more like Kate’s.

Jeffrey Alix, director of Alumni and Parent Relations at Ashland University, helped to gather the crowd.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be the alumni director at Ashland for each of the team’s trips to Elite Eight,” Alix said. “We always try to find an opportunity to bring the parents, fans, and community together before we cheer them on.”

Eagle women’s basketball fans met up at Hi Ho bar, in St. Joseph, Missouri, to eat dinner and talk to one another before they went to the arena to cheer the team on.

“As the alumni director at Ashland Univeristy it’s a great opportunity to bring people together that have great pride and spirit for the university,” he explained. 

One of the familiar faces in the arena was Tony Daniel, who can be seen wearing a split-dye purple and gold wig. Daniel has been supporting the Eagles for the past 13 years even though he isn’t related to anyone on the team.

He has been to Columbus, South Dakota, and Texas to show his support for the women with the 2013 championship win being his most memorable.

Another dedicated fan that made the 11-hour drive is David Borter, also known as Coach Cousy. 

Borter coached Morgan Yoder and Zoe Miller “throughout their youth years and even travel basketball”, but retired coaching after they graduated from Berlin Hiland.

“When Morgan was a freshman I told her that when she was done playing high school I would retire. She goes ‘well you can just see me play in college all the time’ and that’s exactly what I was going to do,” he recalled. “So that’s what I’m doing.”

He has been going to every Ashland game this season and has acquired some favorite memories. 

“Seeing Morgan and Zoe both excel with the team, but it’s the team. Sometimes they look like they are down and out, but always find a way to win them. To me that’s just part of the culture,” he said. “This is the best part of it here. Being in the Elite Eight!

The Archers travel to Missouri to follow the Eagles

Robert Archer and his son-in-law support the women’s basketball team on the road

written by Brynn Meisse, posted: 12:46 p.m. March 21st

The Archers are one of the staples in the Ashland community as they provide support to different businesses and the University itself. Not only do they help with physical donations and gifts, but they also provide their presence at important community events.

Robert and Janet Archer have watched the Eagles women’s basketball play in the tournament in Columbus, Ohio, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and this year they will continue to provide their presence.

Bob, his daughter Pam, and son-in-law Mark will make the 11-hour drive to Missouri to cheer on the Eagles, while Jan cheers from home.

Bob’s favorite memory is when the women’s team played in Columbus because “Ashland fans filled the gym.”

A constant during the 2022-2023 season has been the fans who have shown out for their Eagles.

“One of my favorite memories came from visiting Sioux Falls where we toured the Historic District with the city blocks lined with sculptures!  Part of the fun is seeing different gyms, campuses, and cities,” Jan said.

This year, the Eagles have traveled well, and are projected to have over 250 supporters in the stands for the tournament in Missouri.

“It’s great for the team to have lots of purple and gold in the stands and to hear the roar of the hometown crowd.  I’m sure it boosts the team, and it may be a psychological edge!” Jan said.

AU women’s basketball takes down UT Tyler, 81-72

Roshak records 24 points and 10 rebounds in win

written by Ethan Jenkins, posted: 10:15 p.m. March 20th

On Monday, March 20 the Ashland University women’s basketball team played the University of Tyler at Texas in the quarterfinal round of the Elite Eight.

The Eagles came storming out of the gate getting multiple three-pointers from Hallie Heidemann and Maddie Maloney, in way of an 11-2 run to open the contest.

The Patriots responded well in the final eight minutes of the 1st quarter bringing the game back within reach at 22-16, at the end of one.

Throughout the second stanza of play the lead was maintained in the seven to eight-point range for the Eagles, eventually going into the break at a score of 36-29.

Coming out of the halftime break, the Eagles increased their lead to double digits with quick buckets by Hayley Smith and Hallie Heidemann.

“It is always good to see the first couple go in, and your teammates shots go in as well, it really gets our offense going,” said Heidemann.

The teams traded buckets throughout the end of the third quarter, and the Eagles maintained a 9-point lead heading into the final ten minutes of action.

The 9-point lead would stand still in the fourth with the Eagles nailing pivotal free throws down the stretch with five out of six coming from Savaya Brockington, Hallie Heidemann, and Annie Roshak.

Those six free throws proved to be a pivotal deciding factor as the Eagles held off the Patriots by a final score of 81-72.

“In the second half our defense waivered pretty significantly, but we still found a way win,” said Head Coach Kari Pickens.

Ashland will play the University of Tampa in the Final Four on Wednesday night tip-off is set for 9:30 p.m. EST

Final stats: 

Annie Roshak-24 PTS, 10 REB

Zoe Miller- 15 PTS, 3 REB

Hallie Heidemann- 14 PTS, 7 REB

Wherever they are, the Eagle faithful support their team

O’Bryans Pub and the Ashland University student center hold Elite Eight watch parties

written by Alaina Kathrein, posted: 11:15 p.m. March 20th

Ashland University’s women’s basketball has officially made it to St. Joseph, Missouri, to compete as one of the best teams in the country. While some made the treacherous 12-hour trip, others stayed back in Ashland and rallied with one another to cheer on the Eagles.

Heading into the Elite Eight, the team sat with a 34-0 overall record and was placed as the No. 1 seed. Their first game came up against UT Tyler at the Civic Arena on March 20.

For the first game of the series fans gathered from all around the community to watch the Eagles compete. At Ashland University the campus held a watch party in the Student Center Auditorium.

President Carlos Campo asked the director of Student Activities Liz Keller to set up the campus event to help bring students together and support the team.

“The hope for this event was to create a sense of comradery among the community on campus,” said Keller.

Several students attended the watch party and had lots to say about the team’s impact on the campus and community this season.

“I came here to support my roommate who is on the team and all the other girls because they are just great people and amazing to watch,” said student-athlete Klaira Paramore.

While there are connections to the players on the team, other students who just enjoy watching the team play attended the party.

“I came because the team is fun to watch and they are really good at what they do,” said student-athlete William Rassat.

The students gathered together for pizza and cheered the team on from home as they performed in typical AU fashion, winning 81-72.

With the students holding their own watch party, other members of the community followed suit. Some members of the community gathered at O’Bryan’s Pub in Ashland, Ohio.

Former AU women’s basketball player Renee Holt attended the watch party at O’Bryan’s and was very excited to see her former team and coach compete. She was a member of the team from 2016 through 2020.

“I loved coach Picken’s competitiveness, she would play with us during practice and just brought a new level of competitiveness to us she was our ultimate competitor,” said Holt. “I just love the family atmosphere and sense of togetherness when I played, it was my home away from home.”

Many other community members were seen at the pub.

Marty Schmitz, a member of the community, was asked about why he attended the restaurant to watch the game.

“Well we have gone to most of the games this year, I remember watching Kari as a player and she was very competitive and fun to watch. The girls are really fun to watch and the fans are just as fun to be around,” said Schmitz.

Former mayor of Ashland, Glen Stewart, was also at the pub with his wife of 60 years, Judy Stewart. They have been following the team all season and gathered with the rest of the community to watch the game.

“I love that the team brings the community together and has great enthusiasm, you can just see the love of the game they have when they play,” said Judy. “As a known member of the community seeing the people come together, its something the community looks forward to, and as a parent, I love watching them because I know they are having fun.”

The Eagles will continue to the Final Four in Missouri on March 22nd to play the No. 5-ranked Glenville State Pioneers, the defending Division II National Champions.

Assistant coach Kotas wins WBCA Thirty Under 30 award

Kotas has helped lead this team to an undefeated record in her first season with the Eagles

written by Cade Cracas, posted: 12:21 p.m. March 20th

Ashland University’s women’s basketball team has continued to add accolades and honors to their illustrious undefeated season.

The Eagles, who are gearing up to take on UT Tyler in the Elite Eight, just got another confidence boost as Assistant Coach Jenna Kotas was awarded the WBCA Thirty Under 30 Award.

This award is given to recognize 30 up-and-coming women’s basketball coaches aged 30 and under at all levels of the game. The individuals who receive this award provide characteristics of leadership, mentorship, professionalism and attitude, and serve in their community.

Kotas joined the Eagles from Illinois-Springfield this past offseason. In three seasons with Illinois-Springfield, she helped the program go from a record of 9-19 to 10-11 to 17-11.

Her contributions were recognized by the WBCA and she was given the Thirty Under 30 Award during the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Alongside her stellar three seasons with Illinois-Springfield, she won the award in 2019 as well while being a part of the Purdue Northwest women’s basketball program.

This season, she has helped lead the Eagles alongside Head Coach Kari Pickens to a 34-0 overall record and an appearance in the Elite Eight.

A full preview of the eight elite teams 

The Elite Eight occurs on March, 20, in St. Joseph Missouri

written by Cade Cracas, posted: 10:30 a.m. March 20th

As March rolls on so does the NCAA Division II Postseason Tournament, and the Elite Eight has finally arrived.

Eight of the best teams in the Division II women’s basketball scene have traveled from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast and everything in between all ending up in the same location, St. Joseph, Missouri.

A full breakdown of those eight teams, how each’s 2022-2023 season went and a preview of the team’s matchups can be found down below.

No. 1 seed: Ashland University

Season Record: 34-0

The Ashland University women’s basketball team has remained undefeated heading into the Elite Eight for the third time in program history. The previous time they did so was during the 2017-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons. In 16-17′, the Eagles won the National Championship and in 17-18,’ they were the runner-up.

Heading into the tournament, the Eagles are ranked No. 1 in field goal percentage, three-point percentage and assists per game. Alongside their countless Division II high numbers, they also rank third in the free-throw percentage.

The Eagles were able to secure a conference championship in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, alongside a Midwest Region Championship, downing the No. 5 nationally ranked Grand Valley State Lakers.

Looking to find another run to the championship, the Eagles will be going up against No. 8-seeded UT-Tyler, at 6 p.m. CST/ 7 p.m. EST on March 20, on

No. 2 seed: Minnesota Duluth

Season Record: 30-3

The University of Minnesota Duluth started their season 1-1 after falling to Missouri Southern, and at first, things seemed rocky for the team up north as they put up just 51 points in the loss. However, they would go on a 15-win streak to bolster their confidence. Once that win streak came to a close on Jan. 28, 2023, against Augusta, they would go on yet another streak that would last until the Elite Eight.

The Bulldogs were able to secure a conference championship in the NSIC conference while getting revenge on Agusuta for the loss earlier in the year, this time in the semi-final round. With a conference title under the team’s belt, they headed into the Central Regional Tournament and dominated their first two opponents, both by 16 points. Once again though, the Bulldogs would be set up for a movie-like finale to their season as in the Regional Tournament Championship they would go up against Missouri Southern.

The Bulldogs would squeak out a 77-76 down-to-the-wire victory, to secure a spot in the Elite Eight.

They will be taking on the Assumption University Greyhounds at 2:30 p.m. on March 20, while hoping to keep their cinderella story alive.

No. 3 seed: California Saint Dom. Hills

Season Record: 31-2

The California Saint Dom. Hills Toros did not lose a contest until Jan. 28, 2023, against Chico State by one point. Outside of that loss, their only other loss occurred in the CCAA conference tournament final against California State San Marcos by a 12-point differential, 74-62.

Although they fell in the conference title game, they still received a bid in the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the West region. In the opening round against California Poly Pomona, they dominated in an 87-61 win. After that, they would down the No. 3 and No. 4 seed, securing a birth into the Elite Eight.

For the Toros, this is their first birth into the Elite Eight in program history. Heading into this season, they amassed a 1-8 regional tournament record and helped improve that winning percentage with three more wins.

In the opening round, they will gear up to take on the No. 6 seeded Catawba College at 12 p.m. CST/ 1 p.m. EST on March 20.

No. 4 seed: Tampa

Season Record: 33-1

The University of Tampa Spartans come into the Elite Eight as the second-best team based on record but were listed as the fourth-seeded team.

They started the season red-hot, winning their first 11 contests before falling to Palm Beach Atlantic, 79-76, on Dec. 29, 2022. After picking up their first loss of the year just before the changing of calendars, the Spartans rallied and downed every opponent they came up against heading into the Elite Eight.

In their conference tournament, they beat their opponents by an average of 18.5 points per game, securing an SSC Tournament Championship with ease. Once again, ease would be a perfect word to describe the feeling the Spartans had in the NCAA South Regional Tournament.

Kicking things off against Tuskegee, they defeated them 82-64. In the semi-final round, they took on Lee and outscored them 73-51. To head to the Elite Eight, they dominated Eckerd 76-53 and are headed up against No. 5 seeded Glenville State. Both squads, loaded with an arsenal on the offensive side of things, will be hard for either side to stop.

These two teams will take on one another at 8:30 p.m. CST/ 9:30 p.m. EST, as the final contest of the Elite Eight on March 20.

No. 5 seed: Glenville State

Season Record: 32-2

Widely regarded as one of the top teams in the Elite Eight, the Glenville State Pioneers are looking to repeat as Division II National Champions. In the 2021-2022 season, they completed a 35-1 season, downing Western Washington, 85-72 to secure the title. During their run, they set the record for most points in the NCAA Tournament recording more than 504 points. With the offense still producing at the same high level with five 100-point games this season, the Pioneers will be a force to be reckoned with.

This season they’ve lost just two games, both coming on the road. They lost 79-70, and 75-74, with the most recent occurring on Jan. 18, 2023, putting them on a 17-game win streak. Their offense also sits No. 2 in Division II at an average of 87.8 points per game.

In the opening run, they will take on the University of Tampa Spartans at 8:30 p.m. CST/ 9:30 p.m. EST, as the final contest of the Elite Eight on March 20.

No. 6 seed: Catawba

Season Record: 28-5

Catawba College enters into crunch time of the season as the No. 6 seed after losing just two conference games on the season. From Jan. 4 until March 1, the Indians lost just one game while riding into the SAC Tournament with confidence. After downing Limestone, 83-67 in the opening round, the Indians struggled and were knocked out by five points to Lenoir-Rhyne in the semi-final round of the conference tournament.

Although they were unable to secure a conference title, the Indians impressed and were given the No. 1 seed to host the Southeast Region Tournament. In the opening round, they downed UNC Pembroke, 57-40, and then followed up that blowout by one-upping themselves in the semi-final round with a 75-49 destruction of Clayton State.

To head to the Elite Eight, the Indians downed Georgia Southern, 75-65, clinching the team’s first regional title and first Elite Eight appearance.

They will take on the No. 3 seeded California Saint Dom. Hills Toros at 12 p.m. CST/ 1 p.m. EST on March 20.

No. 7 seed: Assumption

Season Record: 27-5

The Assumption University Greyhounds have been a dark horse heading into the NCAA Tournament. While they may not have as good of a record that the higher seeds inside the tournament hold, they’ve earned their spot in the final batch of eight teams in the country.

To start the year the Greyhounds routed an 11-game win streak to push themselves up the DII rankings as the country took notice. After a win streak to start the season, they went 12-4 through the next 16 games, falling by an average of 10 points per game in those losses.

Heading into the NE-10 conference tournament, the Greyhounds entered as the No. 2 seed and downed their opening opponent, Southern Connecticut State University, 60-44. In the second round, however, things would look bleak for the Greyhounds as the No. 3 seeded Southern New Hampshire University gave them their fifth loss of the season, 67-60.

On the season, the Greyhounds’ defense has been their bread and butter, but at times the lack of offensive production has hindered them as they have just eight games above 70 points scored this season.

Although they did lose in their conference tournament, they received a bid in the NCAA Tournament and were slotted as the No. 1 seed and waltzed their way into the East Region Championship against Jefferson. Squeaking out a victory, 62-57, the Greyhounds clinched a spot in the Elite Eight and won their first program regional championship.

In the opening round, they will take on the No. 2 seeded Minnesota Duluth at 2:30 p.m. on March 20.

No. 8 seed: University of Texas-Tyler

Season Record: 27-7

The University of Texas-Tyler Patriots, known as UT Tyler, head into the Elite Eight with a 27-7 overall record. That record, which consists of being undefeated on their home floor, will be tested on the road at a neutral site in St. Joseph Missouri. In those neutral/road site contests, the Patriots have struggled going just 16-7.

After an above-average regular season, the Patriots were knocked out in the semi-final round of their conference tournament, lighting a fire underneath the team’s belt for the NCAA Postseason Tournament.

The No.8 seeded Patriots went through the South Central region, downing the No. 1 seed in the opening round en route to sneaking out of the region.

This season the Patriots have three scorers averaging double figures this season Destini Whitehead (12.6), Tina Machalova (12.0) and Lovisa Hevinder (10.4).

As a team, the Patriots have averaged 66.1 points per game and will be a tough matchup with the No.1 seeded Eagles, who score 83.9 points per contest.

Looking to find their first win in the Elite Eight and defy more odds like they have this season, the Patriots will be going up against No. 1-seeded Ashland University Eagles, at 6 p.m. CST/ 7 p.m. EST on

Eagle senior Sam Chable given the Elite 90 award

Chable finished her career with a high of 29 points in one game

written by Ethan Jenkins, posted: 11:07pm March 19th

Right before the Ashland University women’s basketball team plays in the Elite Eight, the Eagles picked up another award.

Senior Sam Chable was awarded the Division II Elite 90 award winner. The Elite 90 honors a student at schools across the country that competes for a national championship and excels in the classroom.

The Elite 90 award is presented to the student with the highest cumulative grade point average at the site of the NCAA championships.

Through the end of 2022, as an exercise science major, Chable achieved a 4.0 GPA.

In the 2021 postseason, Chable tied the Ashland program record by hitting nine threes in one game.

The last player to earn the award within the women’s basketball program was Julie Worley in 2017-18.

The Eagles are set to play the UT Tyler Patriots at 7 p.m. EST on Monday, March 20.

AU Gears up for Elite Eight vs. UT Tyler

The Eagles look to complete their second undefeated season in program history

written by Ethan Jenkins, posted: 4:10pm March 19th

After winning the NCAA Midwest Regional championship, the Ashland University women’s basketball team is off to the Elite Eight to take on the University of Texas at Tyler.

UT Tyler is not like all the other teams in the Elite Eight, they are not coming into the final eight teams as a No. 1 seed from their region.

The No.8 seeded Patriots went through the South Central region, in the round of 64 through the Sweet Sixteen as the No. 5 seed.

UT Tyler is undefeated on their home floor this season, but 16-7 on the road or at a neutral site.

The Patriots have three scorers averaging double figures this season Destini Whitehead (12.6), Tina Machalova (12.0) and Lovisa Hevinder (10.4).

As a team, the Patriots average 66.1 points per game, and will be a tough matchup with the No.1 seeded Eagles, who score 83.9 points per contest.

In the Midwest Regional Championship game, it was Purdue Northwest transfer Savaya Brockington, who led the Eagles with 17 points.

With starting point guard, Morgan Yoder, missing the whole Midwest Regional Tournament it is still unknown whether she will be able to play or not on Monday night.

Brockington will have to step into the starting role once more if Yoder cannot play.

Another statistical difference between the two squads is, UT Tyler loses the rebounding battle against opposing teams by about 2 rebounds per contest, meanwhile, the Eagles outrebound opponents by almost 7 rebounds per game.

The boards will be something to keep an eye on in the opening round of the Elite Eight.

A trip to the Final Four is on the line on Monday night, as the No. 1 Eagles take on the No. 8 UT Tyler Patriots at 7 p.m. EST.

Watch, Listen, and Read

Listen to the game: (pregame starting at 6:45)

Watch the game:

Live stats:

The History of AU women’s basketball in the Elite Eight

Four appearances, Four wins

written by Cade Cracas, posted: 2:15pm March 19th

The Ashland University women’s basketball team has always had tremendous success in the 21st century by making waves in the NCAA Division II scene.

Since appearing in the Elite Eight four times in an eight-year span from 2011-2018, the Eagles took a five-year break from playing deeper in March. However, in the 2022-2023 season, the Eagles routed an undefeated record and will once again dance in the Elite Eight.

2011-2012 Season: 33-2

The Eagles first initially appeared in the Elite Eight during the 2011-2012 season, led by Ohio Hall of Fame Head Coach, Sue Ramsey. During their miraculous run, the Eagles entered the final three games of the season with a 31-1 record and a No. 2 seed placement. In the Elite Eight, they took on the University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves who went 30-4 on the season.

This would be no easy task for the Eagles, but with consistency being a factor for the offense, they shot 43% from the field and 63% from beyond the arc in the first half of play. They outscored the Seawolves, by nine points for a 32-23 lead.

In the second half, the Eagles finished off the game with ease as they dominated shooting a stellar 55% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc, outscoring the Seawolves by 11 through the last 20 minutes. Their win ended one of the Seawolves’ best seasons in program history with a final score of 71-51.

For the Eagles, this was their first-ever Elite Eight appearance, and they won it.

2012-2013 Season: 37-1

After winning in the Elite Eight the previous season, but falling just short of securing the program’s first national championship, Coach Ramsey had a fire under her belt and unleashed it all onto the Division II women’s basketball scene. Heading into the NCAA Postseason, the Eagles had just one loss coming on Valentine’s Day to the Findlay Oilers, a conference rival, by a score of 66-51.

With a loss out of the way, the Eagles were able to solely focus on playing to win a national championship, not a perfect record. In their opening Elite Eight round, the Eagles were set to take on the Gannon University Golden Knights. The Golden Knights were red-hot in the 2012-2013 season, amassing a 31-4 overall record.

These two teams had prior history against one another as earlier in the season the Eagles downed the Golden Knights 70-59 in the two teams’ second contest of the campaign. The contest finishing with an 11-point deficit would be a preview to the season-ending loss the Golden Knights would take to the Eagles in the Elite Eight.

In that contest, both squads went back and forth after the opening tip, with the Golden Knights taking the edge up by six at halftime. The Eagles struggled shooting just 37% from the field and 19% from beyond the arc.

Heading into the second half, the team needed to recompose themselves, and that they did. They shot 49% from the field and 50% from three-point range while going 13-of-16 from the charity stripe. Those 180-degree-like shooting numbers in the second half propelled the Eagles to a 49-32 second-half performance, closing out the game with a 74-63 scoreline.

After squeaking by with a win, the Eagles would not struggle for the remainder of the tournament and secure a National Championship.

2016-2017 Season: 37-0

The 2016-2017 season will go down as the greatest season in Eagle basketball history. After a perfect regular season, a perfect conference tournament and a perfect regional tournament, the Eagles headed into the Elite Eight up against a West Texas A&M team that had its ups and downs.

West Texas A&M had a 26-8 record, losing seven during the regular season and being eliminated in the semi-final round of their conference tournament. However, when the bright lights were on them in the South Region Tournament, they won three straight, downing the No. 5 seed and upsetting the No. 1 and 2-seeded teams.

Even after building up confidence in the South Region, the Eagles quickly diminished that in their Elite Eight bout.

To start, the Eagles outscored the Buffs, 23-11 in the first quarter of play. Although the Buffs set themselves back early, the Eagles took their foot off the gas and the Buffs stormed back into the game with a 21-point quarter in the second quarter.

The score at halftime sat with the Eagles leading 41-32 while shooting 59% from the field and going 2-of-5 from downtown.

In the second half, the Eagles started off strong shooting 59% from the field while scoring the first eight points of the third quarter, and looked as though they were going to run away with the game. However, that would not be the case as the Eagles hit a wall in the fourth quarter shooting just 2-of-12 from the field, opening up the door for the Buffs to bring the contest closer.

Unfortunately for the Buffs, foul trouble down the stretch would give the Eagles a staggering 16 free throws, making 14 of them to finish off an 82-67 win, punching their ticket to the next round.

The Eagles would then go on to complete the undefeated and perfect season, winning the National Championship while posting over 80 points per game in the final three games of the season.

2017-2018 Season: 36-1

After winning the National Championship for the second time in program history the season prior, the Eagles were gearing up for a repeat. They waltzed their way through the regular season, conference tournament and Midwest Regional Tournament while recording 19 100+ point games as one of the best offensive teams in the country.

Heading into the Elite Eight, their opponent, Montana State University Billings, was a team that was nearly the complete opposite of them in the regular season going 19-11. In conference play, they went just 12-8 and entered their conference tournament as a No. 4 seed. They would go through the tournament taking down the No. 5, No. 3 and No. 1 seeds, securing a conference championship.

After securing a berth into the NCAA Tournament as the No. 7 seed, the Yellowjackets upset the No. 2 seed in the opening round, No. 3 seed in the semi-finals and the No. 5 seed in the West Region championship.

The Yellowjackets then entered the Elite Eight for just their second time in program history, breaking a 19-year streak of not appearing in such.

The Eagles most certainly would have a tough team to go up against, whether or not their regular season record showed it.

In the two teams’ Elite Eight matchup, the Yellowjackets kept the game close, 22-18 at the end of 10 minutes. In the second quarter, slight separation would occur as the Eagles outscored them 28-22, leading by ten points heading into the halftime break.

However, the Yellowjackets would no go away quietly as they bounced back in the third quarter bringing the contest within seven points heading into the final 10 minutes of the contest.

In the fourth quarter, the Eagles shut down any hopes of moving on to the Final Four for the Yellowjackets as they held them to just 12 points while scoring 23 to close out the 91-73 stifling victory.

After winning in the Elite Eight, the Eagles then dominated Indiana University of Pennsylvania 92-68 before falling to Central Missouri in the National Championship, falling just short of back-to-back undefeated seasons.

That loss not only ended their season but ended a program-long 73-game win streak.

Elite Eight Appearances: 4-0 record

2011-2012: vs. Alaska-Anchorage4 71-51 victory. Later fell to Shaw in National Championship, 88-82 in OT.

2012-2013: vs. Gannon5 74-63 victory. Later defeated Dowling in National Championship, 71-56.

2016-2017: vs. West Texas A&M5 82-67 victory. Later defeated Virginia Union in National Championship,93-77.

2017-2018: vs. Montana St.-Billings5 91-73 victory. Later fell to Central Missouri in National Championship, 66-52.

2022-2023: vs. UT Tyler TBD

Eagle faithful prepare for trip to Missouri

Ashland University’s loyal supporters gear up to support traveling Eagles

written by Brynn Meisse, posted: 9:20pm March 17th

Ashland University’s women’s basketball team has had the support of the Ashland community over the years. 

Many dedicated fans have traveled with the team to cheer them on throughout the Elite Eight. This year it looks to be no different as the Eagles punched their ticket to dance in March against UT Tyler. 

As alumni of the university, Steve and Kimmie Humrichouser have become the biggest fans of the women’s basketball team starting in 2013 when Kari Pickens joined the team.

They found out that Pickens was coming to Ashland through word of mouth.

“We started going because it was a great group of women back then. There was lots of talent,” Steve explained. 

The Humrichousers have shown their support to the team by attending away games this season as well as traveling by plane to the out-of-state tournaments.

Their years of support as boosters has allowed them to grow their relationship with the women despite not being related to anyone on the team.

Boosters are given special time with the women such as lunches where they can have conversations and get to know each other.

“Whenever they have been to Elite Eight we have been there,” Steve said.

The Humrichousers have attended several tournament games such as San Antiono, Texas, Springfield, Missouri, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Columbus.

“It’s hard to say their is a favorite because they have all been special. Kari’s second year of being here and that national championship was quite possibly the best, but when we won the national championship in Columbus with that being in our backyard with a hometown crowd was also really special,” Steve said.

Supporting the Eagles for over 10 years has allowed them to see the team’s evolution.

“It has been a tremendous joy watching the growth of the program and the leadership that has gotten them there,” Steve concluded. 

The Humrichousers will not be attending the Elite Eight and Final Four games, but they will be there in person for the final two in Dallas if the Eagles make it.

Another alumni fan that will be in the crowd at Elight Eight is Dwight McElfresh. 

He helped to create the FastBreak Club, a booster club that provides opportunities for the women’s basketball team and creates a community of support, along with former head coaches Sue Ramsey and Robin Fralick.

McElfresh is currently the president of the FastBreak Club and lives up to the club’s intention: community support.

After missing out on watching the women play in San Antonio, he “vowed never to miss another one.”

McElfresh has been to Sioux Falls and Columbus to show his support for the team, which the latter being his favorite memory.

“When you go to these games there are a few hundred fans, but in Columbus it was filled with about 2,000 people wearing purple and gold. You’ll never forget that memory practically on your home floor,” he said.

McElfresh is looking forward to the women playing in St. Joseph, Missouri and plans to make the drive with his wife and her friend. 

“It’s a great thing when the students support the team. We have a lot of people for the community that support the team,” McElfresh concluded. 

While some fans will be making the travel to watch the women play in person, some fans are choosing to stay at home and support them on the tv such as recent graduate and former player Jodi (Johnson) Phillips.

Since she is now a fan she has gained a different perspective compared to her time as a player.

“[It’s] definitely less nerve-racking as a player but I still feel like I have the same energy as I did when I played. I’m all in. First year officially joining the “Purple Swarm” and I feel like I fit in nicely,” Phillips said.

Phillips played basketball for AU as guard/foward from 2016 until 2020. She was fifth on the programs All Time points list with 1,675 and apart of the team that went to the national championship in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

“The atmosphere of the Elite Eight is unlike any other. I think my favorite memory from the tournament is just all the energy and hype leading up to the first game. I could run through a brick wall,” Phillips said. “I enjoyed traveling with my best friends and making memories along the way while pursuing a National Championship. Plus the Eagle fans always show out!”

The Purple Swarm is ready to cheer on the Eagles at Elite Eight either on tv or in person.

Kari Pickens and Annie Roshak awarded Division II honors

Roshak was awarded All-American honors, while Pickens won DII Coach of the Year

written by Ethan Jenkins, posted: 12:30pm March 17th

Before the Ashland University women’s basketball team goes to St. Joseph, Missouri for the Elite Eight, Division II awards were named on Friday, March 17.

Head Coach Kari Pickens was awarded the Division II Coach of the Year. In her fifth season with the team, Pickens has the Eagles sitting at the No. 1 seed in the Elite Eight with an undefeated record.

The Eagles also were able to take home a Great Midwest Athletic Conference Championship and a Midwest Regional Championship in the past few weeks.

Currently sitting at 34-0, Pickens has her squad winning by an average of 25.1 points per game. Along with being one of the top teams in the nation in points per game, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and assist-to-turnover ratio.

In other award news, Annie Roshak, who averages a team-leading 14.1 points, was named to the coach’s All-America team.

Roshak is 3rd in the whole nation in FG% at 63.9%, and additionally adds 5.4 rebounds per contest.

Roshak and Pickens look to continue their perfect season with a win against UT Tyler in the Elite Eight, on Monday, March 20 at 7 p.m. EST.