It’s not 111 games, but there’s a new record-breaking streak in women’s college basketball—and it has nothing to do with UConn.
On Thursday night, the Ashland University women’s basketball team defeated Wayne State 101-84 to mark its 58th straight win—a Division II record for men or women.
Ashland, a school of 4,536 situated halfway between Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio, is also the defending D-II champs and hasn’t lost since a regional semifinal against Drury in March 2016. On Jan. 6, Ashland beat Northern Michigan 99-59 to set the women’s record for consecutive wins at 52.
The Eagles have been utterly dominant all season. After a scare in their second game of the season against Cedarville—a 79-78 win—their closest win has been by 13 points. They’ve won by 55, 65, and 73. Their leading scorer is Laina Snyder, a senior forward, who is averaging 19.6 points. Jodi Johnson, a sophomore guard, leads the nation in steals (3.95). Ashland is first in the nation in points per game (101.9). They’ve been unstoppable all season.
“The record is less about the number and more about the why and the how,” says head coach Robyn Fralick. “A group of people decided to make the team first.”
Fralick is only in her third year of head coaching, and her success is unparalleled. An assistant at Ashland for seven seasons before becoming head coach, Fralick is 89-2. That is, by far, the highest winning percentage in NCAA history. “I just feel really fortunate,” the former Davidson guard says. “Not many people get their first coaching opportunity where it’s so sound.”
On Thursday, Ashland actually struggled to start the game. Wayne State took an 11-6 from the first whistle and Ashland trailed in the second quarter 36-26. A 17-2 run by halftime gave the Eagles a 43-38 lead and then they scored 11 points in the first 100 seconds of the third to move towards a record-setting victory.
Ashland is two games away from tying Potsdam’s 60-win streak from 1985-87, the D-III men’s record. They are 12 games away from one of UConn’s streaks, 70 wins from 2001-03. They have seven more games before the GLIAC tournament starts at the end of February. Assured a number one seed in the Division II tournament, a championship would move their streak to 72 games—fifth-best all-time.
“Our goal is to win a national championship, but the pressure is peripheral,” says Fralick. “If we’re working hard and taking care of each other, that’s where the good stuff is.”