Best Season Ever for Harding Women's Basketball Ends in National Semifinals
March 23, 2017 at 2:49 AM CDT - Updated August 12 at 4:21 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A season that Harding basketball fans will never forget came to an end Wednesday in the NCAA Division II national semifinals. The Lady Bisons battled No. 1 seed and undefeated Ashland before a crowd of 1,892 at Alumni Hall on the campus of Ohio Dominican. Ashland (36-0) won the game 90-77 and advanced to meet Virginia Union on Friday for the national championship.
Harding finished the season 31-4 and in the most successful campaign in the 34-season history of the program, won the Great American Conference regular season title, the GAC Tournament championship, the program's first Central Region title, and won Harding's first game in the Elite Eight, defeating Queens College on Tuesday.
Harding shot 65 percent in the first quarter, hitting 11 of 17 shots, and trailed only 27-23 entering the second quarter.
A free throw by Caroline Hogue with 4:45 left in the second quarter cut Ashland's lead to 36-32. Over the next 3:29, Ashland outscored Harding 17-1 and pulled out to a 53-33 lead on Maddie Dackin's 3-pointer with 1:16 left. It was Ashland's fifth 3-pointer of the quarter.
Ashland's lead grew to as many as 28 points in the third quarter, but Harding's defense stiffened in the fourth and the Lady Bisons were able to claw back to within 13 points twice.
Harding outscored Ashland 52-36 in the paint, thanks in large part to the work of sophomore Caroline Hogue. In 28 minutes, Hogue scored 24 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked three shots. Senior A'ndi Haney, who played her 121st game as a Lady Bison, scored 13 points and added eight assists, five rebounds and three steals.