First Half Defense the Story in 48-44 Win Over Waldorf
Women's Basketball - Sat, Jan. 28, 2012
Courtney Panus topped the Saints in scoring with 16 points.
Waldorf University
CLINTON, Iowa - The Ashford women's basketball team made it two wins in a row on Saturday, knocking off Waldorf, 48-44.

Junior Courtney Panus' 16 points, along with a suffocating defense, helped the Saints avenge an earlier season loss to the Warriors. The defense was at its finest in the first half, holding Waldorf to 11 points.

"We executed the game plan very well in the first half," Head Coach Amy Eagan said. "They have some very good post players and we had a way to defend their inside game and take them out of their rhythm and that was big for us."

With the two teams locked in a 7-7 tie with 12:20 to go in the first half, Ashford turned up the defensive pressure on the Warriors. The Saints would close out the half out-scoring Waldorf, 16-4 to take a 23-11 lead into the break.

Ashford continued their relentless defense out of the gate in the second half, and after a jumper by Panus put the Saints up 32-15 with 14:46 to go, the Saints were well on their way to a win.

But the Warriors battled back like their nickname suggests, chipping away at the Ashford lead as the half wore on.

With 7:16 to go, Waldorf got a steal from Aubrey Draves, who handed off to Lindy Pins for a layup, cutting the lead to 41-31.

The Warriors would continue to close the gap, going on an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 43-39 with 2:42 left to play after a three-pointer from Ellie Markwardt.

But much like their win over AIB on Thursday, the Saints put an end to the rally after late free throws from Panus and Gaby Ayon, sealing the 48-44 win.

The ability to handle adversity and come out with a win is something the Ashford coaches have been preaching all season. The last two contests, it has paid off.

"We talk a lot about how the game is a game of runs," Eagan added. "You have to be able to sustain and stop runs. We were able to do that the last two games and we were able to stop them and find a way to win, and that's important this late in the season."

Ayon had another strong game for the Saints, scoring seven points and pulling in nine rebounds to lead all players. Madison Wagner added nine points for the Saints, all of them coming from behind the three-point line.

Ashford outshot the Warriors, with the Saints knocking down 32.7% (17-for-52) of their chances to 31.9% (15-for-47) for Waldorf.

Waldorf came into the contest ranked 19th in NAIA Division II in three-point shooting percentage at 32.6% per game. Saturday, they were held to only 22.2% (2-for-9) from long distance.

The Saints also held the advantage on the glass and in the turnover department. Ashford pulled in 33 boards to Waldorf's 32, while the Saints forced 24 turnovers while committing 21.

The Saints will conclude their four-game homestand, when they welcome Mount Mercy to Clinton on Wednesday night. The Mustangs knocked off the Saints back on Jan. 4 in Cedar Rapids, 74-63.

Tip-off from Kehl Arena is set for 5:30.

Record: 0-0 Home: 0-0 Away: 0-0 A.I.I.: 0-0