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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

AU women’s basketball takes down Trevecca Nazarene, 82-78

The Eagles’ win ties the all-time Division II road game win streak at 32-straight
AU Athletics
The AU women’s basketball bench high-fives forward Zoe Miller after she checks out of the game.

The Ashland University women’s basketball team took down yet another Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) opponent, the Trevecca Nazarene Trojans, on the road in Nashville, Tenn.

The two sides went toe to toe all game long, with the win propelling the Eagles to an 11-1 overall record while remaining undefeated in conference play at 4-0. With Head Coach Kari Pickens not making the four-day trip, Assistant Coach Jenna Kotas stepped in to fill her void, guiding the team to a victory with confidence.

“It feels good to get the win. I told the girls at the beginning of the game that I got nothing but trust and faith in them,” said Kotas. “No matter who is coaching they have to rely on each other and trust each other 100%.”

Early in the contest, the Eagles fell down as the Trojans employed a slow pace of play offensively. This kept the Eagles on their heels, resulting in Trojan guard Keely Carter getting hot early on.

Carter would score the first 8-of-10 points for the Trojans, as they got out to a 10-5 lead through the opening four minutes of play.

Through the remaining six minutes, the Eagles would keep things close as three different players hit three-pointers to keep the game within two points. At the end of 10 minutes, the Trojans were ahead, 16-14, as the Eagles shot just 29% from the field.

Of the team’s 17 total shots, 15 of them came from beyond the arc marking a prominent effort from the Trojans to force the Eagles to shoot low success rate shots.

In the second quarter, the Eagles struggled to adapt to the gameplan the Trojans had, and remained trailing.

Once again, they would be outscored by the Trojans, 18-15.

However, they were able to work their way inside and take nine shots inside the arc, proving that the team was trying to fight their way past the defensive efforts of the Trojans.

Heading into halftime, the Trojans led the Eagles, 34-29. The five-point differential was led by Carter, who finished the opening 20 minutes of play with 15 points and two assists.

Eagle Assistant Coach Karlee Denbow recognized the team’s struggles offensively and highlighted that they needed to work the ball into the low post at a better rate. She also said the team was struggling to stop the Trojans defensively, but had faith the team could turn things around in the second half.

Fortunately for Denbow, the Eagles would.

Coming out of the break they stormed back into the game as a barrage of three-pointers would be rained down in the Trojan Fieldhouse by the likes of freshman Lexi Howe and graduate student Erin Daniels.

Howe, who went into halftime 0-7 from the field and 0-4 from beyond the arc, turned things around quickly as she hit three-straight three balls to give the team a 38-35 lead over the Trojans.

Just as the Eagles found a rhythm offensively, the Trojans called a timeout in hopes of stopping the overflowing momentum.

The timeout would work in the Trojans’ favor as they scored the next seven points to take back the lead, 42-38.

With 6:02 left in the third quarter, the Eagles remained on a roll from three-point range as they would score 5 out of 6 of their next shots from the perimeter. Of the five three-pointers, Miller and Daniels would score two and Howe would hit one more.

In her bounce-back quarter, Howe was able to record 12 points for the Eagles.

Heading into the fourth quarter with the game tied at 55, both teams’ fans were on the edge of their seats in preparation for the final 10 minutes of play.

To kick off the final stanza, forward Annie Roshak propelled the team ahead with six points to give them a 63-62 lead.

Down the stretch of the game, both sides went back and forth. At one point in time, the game remained at a 66-64 scoreline for a total of three minutes, truly showcasing how level the two sides were.

Eventually, with 2:30 left in the game, Carter found forward Konner Gambrell who tied up the game at 66.

The nail in the coffin would come from Daniels, who drilled a three-pointer from the right wing to put the Eagles up 69-66 with 1:13 left.

The following 73 seconds would be highlighted by free throws from the Eagles, while the Trojans attempted to climb the improbable hill that was the three-point deficit in such a short time.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Eagles rejoiced as they survived the competitive affair by four points, 72-68.

The team was led by the stellar veteran play from Daniels who finished the contest with 14 points, four assists and three rebounds in just 17 minutes of play. Her double-digit performance would be just her second on the season.

“This is what the girls look to from her,” said Kotas. “The funny thing is, she was a coach for us last year. She knows what to look for down the stretch of games and if we need a key stop she is one to step up.”

On the 2023-24 campaign, Daniels has pushed her average up to 5.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game to go along with 44% from the field and 44% from three-point range.

With the win, the Eagles next look to take on the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers on Saturday, Jan. 6, with tip-off set for 12:00 P.M. in Owensboro, Ky.

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