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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

Eagles prepare for rematch against Bulldogs in second round of NCAA tournament

The Eagles and the Bulldogs will face off tonight, Saturday, March 16, at 5 p.m.
Ben Nichols
Eagle guard Savaya Brockington holds up three fingers after hitting a three pointer.

Allendale, Mich. – A chance to avenge the lone blemish of the 2023-24 season lies ahead of the Ashland University women’s basketball team.

In semifinal action of the Midwest Regional Tournament the Eagles will be facing off against an old Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference foe, Ferris State University. With the one prior meeting between the sides, this season resulted in a 66-62 Bulldog triumph

The Eagles are coming off a dominating 102-65 win over the Drury University Panthers a mere 24 hours ago. The Bulldogs also had a runaway victory in yesterday’s quarter-final round as well against the Lewis University Flyers, aided by a stellar second-quarter offense.

The quick turnaround for both parties may slightly favor the Eagles, because of the Bulldogs’ high pace of play

“Whenever we secured a rebound we got out and ran. I felt like we might have even gotten a little bit tired,” said Ferris State Head Coach Kurt Westendorp after yesterday’s win.

The chance for a berth in the midwest regional title game is the main focus for Ashland facing the Bulldogs later today, but the chance for revenge is also in the back of the team’s mind from the last meeting on Dec 16.

“The Ferris State game was a really great learning experience for us. While it sucks that we lost to them, it gave us a lot of freedom and permission to make changes that we needed to make. We are excited for a round two with them,” said Ashland University Head Coach Kari Pickens.

The Eagles who are now playing as the No. 2 seed in the tournament likely will have to run the gauntlet of Drury University, Ferris State University, and the No. 1 seed Grand Valley State University to win the midwest region. The alignment of the regions within the NCAA tournament leaves a substantial test for the Eagles even in the first two rounds.

“Going into the second round I wish the regionalization would be changed so that we would have to face that quality of a team [Ferris State] so early,” said Pickens.

“It is what it is, teams have had to do it year in and year out in the midwest regional. We are excited to see what we can do,” she continued.

Even with the schedule becoming the toughest it is going to get all season long, the Eagles remain confident they can get the job done and beat Ferris this time around.

“We are fired up man. Ferris is great, they do a lot of things really well, we’ve both gotten better since the last time we played. It’s exciting, I mean it’s March, and we are fired up to play them again. I’d take my team all day,” said Graduate Student Macy Spielman.

Players to watch out for

Ferris State – Chloe Idoni

Idoni hung 29 points on the Eagles in their last meeting, even as a self-described “undersized post” at 5 foot 11 inches tall. Idoni can create shots in the post area to match up with the likes of Annie Roshak and Zoe Miller down low, knocking down 52% of her shots from the field.

Ashland – Sarah McKee

McKee in her last six games has put up 28 points, alongside 7 blocks. Off of the Eagle bench, McKee provides length on the defensive end that can be used to cover space in the spread-out Ferris State offense.

Keys to the game

Ferris State – Play in transition

The Eagles love to slow down the game and lull opposing sides to sleep in the half-court set, but the Bulldogs do exactly the opposite. Firing transition three and rim running can give the 25 and 6 Bulldogs a spot in the Midwest Regional title game.

Ashland – Individual defense

The Bulldogs love to spread the floor leaving two on two defensive opportunities in the pick and roll, along with isolated one-on-one matchups . If the Eagles can stand their ground individually on Ferris’s Idoni and Kadyn Blanchard, Ashland has a chance to rewrite the result of the game a few months ago.

Game information

The Eagles and the Bulldogs will face off tonight, Saturday, March 16, at 5 p.m. inside the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena for a spot in the Midwest regional title game. Fans can listen to the game on 88.9 WRDL at

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