January 19, 2013 - There is no tougher test the Hillsdale College women's basketball team will face this season than playing on the road against the number-one ranked team in all of NCAA Division II.
Ashland University earned an 80-51 win over the Chargers Saturday afternoon in Ohio to improve to 19-0 on the season. The loss drops the Chargers to 6-9 overall and 3-9 in the GLIAC. Hillsdale has one more game in Ohio in this stretch of the season, Thursday night in Canton to take on Malone.
The Eagles have rarely been challenged all year, routinely blowing teams out all season after finishing as the national runner-up a year ago. However, Hillsdale hung tough through much of the game with the reigning conference and regional champs.
The Chargers were as close as seven down well into the second half, thanks in large part to a season-best effort from one of their most promising young players.
Freshman forward Sarah Theut scored a career-high 15 points, also making a career-high three 3-point field goals. Already an asset defensively and on the boards, Theut was more aggressive in looking for her shot in this game, and was the team's leading scorer for the first time - but not likely the last time - in her career.
Theut also collected five rebounds and blocked a shot for Hillsdale.
Sophomore Megan Fogt was the only other Hillsdale player to score in double figures, as she finished with 10 points and four rebounds.
Ashland played without reigning Division II national player of the year Kari Daugherty, who was out with an injury suffered in the team's game against Findlay Thursday night. However, the Eagles still put forth a brutally efficient effort, making 47 percent of their 3-point shots (8-for-17) and the team held a 46-21 edge on the boards over Hillsdale.
As a team, the Chargers tied a school record by making all 10 of their free throws (1.000 pct.). The last time Hillsdale went through a full game without missing a free throw was Jan. 29, 2011 at Michigan Tech. Incidentally, that season, the Huskies went on to play in the national championship game, just as Ashland did last season.