Heading into Thursday’s game against the ninth-ranked Ashland Eagles, the Wayne State women’s basketball team (10-9 overall, 5-7 GLIAC) knew they would have their hands full, but in a home game the magnitude of this one, everyone expected a more eventful showing for the Warriors. Well, Ashland had other plans, as the Warriors fell into a 66-36 halftime deficit that proved to be insurmountable, losing to the Eagles 112-75.
Ashland jumped on the Warriors early in the first half, building a 10-2 lead after a made jumper by AU’s Ashley Dorner with 16:20 left in the first half, which prompted WSU head coach Carrie Lohr to call her first timeout. After a layup by Kayla Bridges made the score 10-4 with 15:53 remaining in the first half, Ashland responded with back-to-back buckets by Ashley Dorner, which pushed the lead to double digits with 15:07 to go in the first half.
A three-pointer by Lena Thomas briefly cut Ashland’s lead to 14-7 with 14:39 remaining in the first half. However, Lindsay Tenyak answered with back-to-back threes of her own extending the lead 20-7 with 14:05 in the half. On the next WSU possession, Paige Sickmiller drained a three that cut the lead back to ten, but from there Ashland dominated the rest of the first half, going on to outscore the Warriors by 20 points for the remainder of the half to lead 66-36.
In addition to the huge deficit at the half, the Warriors were outrebounded 15-11 in the first half and they lost the turnover battle 10-2, which led to Ashland scoring 16 first half points off turnovers—setting the tone for the lopsided defeat.
The second half endured more of the same for the Warriors, as the Eagles extended their lead to 35 with 17:55 left in the game. After the Warriors cut the lead to as low as 29 with 15:53 to play—Ashland surged ahead to the finish line, going ahead by as many as 47 points and leaving the Matthaei with a 37 point win.
The key to this game was defense, Lohr says.
“We couldn’t find a comfortable rhythm defensively,” Lohr said. “This game was about defense and our lack of defending in the first half.”
Also, foul trouble plagued the Warriors as two of their starters were reduced to limited minutes in the first and second half. Forward Phaebre Colbert had three early fouls and was limited to only 16 total minutes, in which she only finished with two points and two boards. Fouls hindered center Juanita Cochran’s minutes, as she fouled out in the second half, finishing with six points and three rebounds.
“Juanita’s one of our hardest workers,” Lohr pointed out, “and it’s really disappointing to see that because it’s not as if each day in and day out she scores because she gets lucky—it’s because she really works on her game and you know, Ashland did a job of taking her out of the game and I’m sure that was the goal.”
The Warriors will look to avenge tonight’s home loss when they play Lake Erie at home on Jan. 28, 1 p.m.
“Defense is at the top of our list right now, without question,” Lohr says, “We’ve got to see what we’re made of. Can we bounce back from that (the loss), can we shelve it and move on tomorrow in practice and on Saturday really dig deep and come out with a win?”