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Ashland Ends Yellowjackets’ Magical Run In Elite Eight
Senior guard Rylee Kane (left) produced 10 points and seven assists in 39 minutes of action. She ends her career fourth on the GNAC all-time assist list with 563. Photo courtesy of Ashland University.
Senior guard Rylee Kane (left) produced 10 points and seven assists in 39 minutes of action. She ends her career fourth on the GNAC all-time assist list with 563. Photo courtesy of Ashland University.

Monday, March 19, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Despite a valiant effort against the nation’s top-ranked team and defending national champion, No. 8 seed Montana State Billings suffered a 91-73 loss to No. 1 seed Ashland in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight on Monday evening inside Sanford Pentagon.

Champions of the GNAC and West Region, Montana State Billings ends the season 25-12 and sees its seven-game win streak come to an end. On the other hand, Ashland (35-0) extends its win streak to 72 games and will take on the winner of No. 5 Indiana (P.A.)/No. 4 Stonehill in the tournament’s next round.

It was Ashland’s full-court press that dealt Montana State Billings trouble the entire night. Hounding the Yellowjackets throughout the entire 40 minutes, the Eagles recorded 17 steals and collected 33 points off 26 MSUB turnovers. Many of those transition buckets came on the fast break where Ashland tallied 21 points in that category.

In their final collegiate games, senior forward Alisha Breen fell two assists shy of a triple-double as she ended the game with 25 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists while senior guard Rylee Kane supplied 10 points and seven assists in 39 minutes of action. Junior forward Vanessa Stavish tallied 15 points on 6 of 11 shooting.

Breen ends her career as the GNAC’s all-time leading scorer with 2,001 career points and leads the GNAC with 569 total free throw makes. Kane finishes her four-year spell fourth in GNAC history with 563 career assists.

Montana State Billings was able to keep pace with the nation’s highest-scoring offense in the first half. Entering halftime down 50-40, the Yellowjackets shot 50 percent from the field but were outmatched at the free throw line 10-4.

Fighting back in the third period, Montana State Billings used a strong defensive effort to head into the fourth quarter down by just seven points. Breen cut the Ashland lead to 10 after freshman guard Hannah Collins found her for a wide-open three-pointer at the 2:17 mark of the third quarter.

Fatigue played a major role in the final period as the Yellowjackets were outscored 23-12 in the quarter. The Ashland defense remained stout as it limited the Yellowjackets to just 3 of 12 shooting from the floor. 

Underdogs for a majority of the postseason, Montana State Billings finishes the season scoring 70 or more points in its final eight games.

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