The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Ashford

November 4, 2013

Saints fall to rated foe

CLINTON – The Ashford University women’s basketball team concluded play at the 2013 Ashford Classic on Saturday, losing to a top-25 team for the second day in a row.

No. 12 Briar Cliff beat the Saints 74-63 despite a game-high 21 points from junior Quinn Rear.

“Physically, we played just as hard as we did last night,” AU coach Kelly Kruger said. “But I thought we were smarter today, and we took a step in the right direction as far as playing as a unit. We also shot the ball a lot better, and we looked much more comfortable in the system.”

After the Chargers took a 19-12 lead in the opening half, Ashford cut the lead to one with 1:25 to go, thanks to a pair of free throws by junior Madison Wagner. But the Saints couldn’t pull in front and headed to the locker room trailing, 34-30.

The Saints stayed within striking distance throughout the second half, but a 7-2 run by the Chargers stretched the lead to seven with 7:25 to play. Ashford battled back, cutting the lead to 58-56, thanks to a long triple from Rear with less than six minutes to play.

But the Saints were unable to get any closer, as the Chargers (2-0) went 8-for-10 from the free-throw line to close the game.

Wagner and sophomore Elizabeth Nardi each finished with 10 points for the Saints, while freshman Sarah Vozel added seven points and a team-leading seven rebounds.

Mattie Murren led the Chargers with 18 points, while Slone Masters and Summer Gordon added 17 and 14, respectively.

The Saints (0-2) held a 43-39 advantage in rebounds while holding a Chargers team that scored 121 points the day before to only 37.9 percent (22-for-58) shooting.

At the end of the weekend, Kruger noticed improvements in the Saints’ play on the floor, despite facing the daunting task of facing a pair of top-15 teams.

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