NATIONAL CHAMPIONS - Ashland trounces Minnesota-Duluth for National Championship - Spherion Mid Ohio

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS - Ashland Trounces Minnesota-Duluth for National Title

April 03, 2023 0 comments

DALLAS -- The queens of Division II women's basketball reside in Ashland, Ohio, but their coronation took place on Saturday afternoon in Dallas, Texas.

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The No. 1-ranked Eagles were fitted for a crown after holding off a late rally by sixth-ranked Minnesota Duluth to earn a 78-67 national championship victory at the American Airlines Arena.

"This team was so hand-picked," coach Kari Pickens said. "They loved each other really well and have been so selfless and I'm so happy for them."

"Sometimes things ... you work really hard and it doesn't pan out," Pickens said. "But this team worked really hard and I'm so, so proud of them."

The Eagles were the nation's top-ranked team in the final 10 polls of the season, then rolled through the tournament. The toughest test was probably a nailbiting, 61-58 regional title win over Grand Valley State at Kates Gymnasium. Defending national champion Glenville State presented a swarming press, but AU turned back the Pioneers with a 76-67 decision in the Final Four.

"Just being so selfless," Pickens said. "There's a lot of girls on this team that were all-conference at other institutions, but to come here and be a part of this, that's what makes today possible."

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