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Naomi Ashley leads Bulldogs past Wagner, 84-69

Photo by: DSPics.com
Photo by: DSPics.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Redshirt senior Naomi Ashley (Hamilton, Ont.) had a career game to help the Bryant University women's basketball top Wagner on Monday night, 84-69.

Three Bulldogs scored in double-figures led by Ashley with 28 points. Junior Sydney Holloway (Morgantown, W.Va.) added 18 points, while sophomore Brooke Bjelko (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) chipped in 10.

GAME INFORMATION
Bryant 84, Wagner 69
Records:
Bryant 9-17 (7-8), Wagner 10-16 (8-7)
Location:
Spiro Sports Center (Staten Island, N.Y.)

COACH BURKE'S COMMENTS
"The team really came out and competed today against a very good Wagner team," said head coach Mary Burke. "Naomi Ashley was awesome and really did it on both ends of the floor today, obviously by her stat numbers. The team played great defense in the second half when we went to a press back into a 2-3 zone. Brooke Bjelko gave us some solid minutes in the second half as well with a big presence inside, which was definitely one of those X-factors for our defense. This was a big win and I'm super happy for our team and we want to keep the W's rolling."

KEY MOMENT

  • The Bulldogs held Wagner to nine points in the third quarter forcing the Seahawks to shoot 3-of-18 from the field.
  • Wagner started making a comeback in the fourth quarter with back-to-back threes to make it a one-possession game, 70-67.
  • Ashley intercepted a pass with just under three minutes to go helping Bryant to a 12-2 run in the final minutes.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Neither team was able to take off on any real runs as both teams were almost dead even for the entire first half. The Bulldogs did however, standout on the glass outrebounding Wagner, 9-6, in the first quarter with four offensive boards, which accumulated five second-chance points.  
  • Ashley tallied the last four points of the quarter with driving layups to give Bryant the lead at the end of the first quarter, 21-20.
  • In the second quarter, Wagner took off on an 8-0 run to extend to a six-point lead, 28-22.
  • Kierra Palmer (Aberdeen, Md.) pushed the ball up to Trinity Bravo (Bridgeport, Conn.) for a wide-open layup under the basket to end the Seahawks run. Bravo's layup helped fuel a 6-0 run to tie the game, 28-28.
  • Bryant's defense came alive in the second half, holding Wagner to just nine points in the third quarter.
  • At the 6:06 mark in the third quarter, Bjelko kick-started a 12-2 run for Bryant helping the Bulldogs end the quarter with a six-point advantage, 49-55.
  • Ashley started the fourth quarter scoring the first eight points for the Black and Gold.
  • Wagner sank a three-pointer to cut its deficit to just three points, 70-67, with 3:35 to go in the game.
  • With 2:49 to give, Ashley swiped a steal to help the Bulldogs pull away to a 12-2 run to end the game.

STATS

  • Ashley scored a game-high 28 points shooting 10-of-16 from the field and going a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Ashley also dished out five assists, grabbed five rebounds, and swiped a game-high of four steals.
  • Holloway chipped in 18 points shooting 8-of-10 from the field and pulling down five boards.
  • Bjelko was one rebound shy of notching a double-double with 10 points, nine rebounds.
  • Palmer dished out a game-high eight assists while also adding eight points shooting two-of-five from beyond the arc.
  • The Bulldogs shot 32-of-64 from the field and 16-of-20 from the charity stripe.
  • Bryant outrebounded Wagner, 35-31.

GAME NOTES

  • Ashley had a career-high 28 points marking the first 20-point performance of her career and the most points a Bulldog has scored all season. The redshirt senior also notched her 200th career-steal in tonight's win.
  • Bryant's 84 points are the most the Bulldogs have scored this season. The last time Bryant scored 80 points or more was last season when the Bulldogs topped Sacred Heart, 81-73, in Fairfield.
  • The Black and Gold remains undefeated in Staten Island growing the series record to 8-0 on Wagner's home court and 16-2 overall.
  • The Bulldogs only turned the ball over nine times, which is the least amount of turnovers that Bryant has had all season.
  • Bryant has now clinched an NEC postseason tournament berth.
  • Coach Burke is now just one win away from the 400 milestone.

UP NEXT
Bryant heads back to the Empire State on Saturday, March 2 to first meet with St. Francis Brooklyn at 1 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. Monday night showdown with LIU Brooklyn.