Ashland completes perfect season with Division II title

DALLAS -- Annie Roshak had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Hayley Smith added 10 points and 10 boards to help top-ranked Ashland beat No. 2 Minnesota Duluth 78-67 on Saturday and win the NCAA Division II women's basketball championship for the third time in program history.

Zoe Miller scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting for Ashland (37-0), and Hallie Heidemann had 11 points. The Eagles, who also went 37-0 en route to the 2017 national title, completed the second undefeated season in program history and just the sixth in Division II.

Eagles coach Kari Pickens became the first woman in Division II history to win a national championship as a player, assistant coach and head coach. After beginning her playing career at Dayton, Pickens transferred to Ashland and won the title as a player in 2013 and then as an assistant coach on the 2017 championship squad.

Minnesota Duluth's Brooke Olson, who was recently named the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's Division II Player of the Year, had four points on 1-of-5 shooting with three turnovers and three fouls in the first half. She was called for an offensive foul, her second personal, with 7:35 to go in the second quarter and left the game with UMD trailing by three. The Eagles stretched their lead to 24-15 after a layup by Miller, and Olson returned less than two minutes later but was called for her third foul with 5:40 to go and missed the remainder of the first half.

Ashland took a 40-22 lead into intermission, and the Bulldogs trailed by double figures until the closing minutes. Olson hit a 3-pointer that trimmed their deficit to 68-61 with 1:35 remaining, but Minnesota Duluth got no closer.

Olson, who finished with 26 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, was fouled on a 3-point shot and made all three free throws to open the scoring in the third quarter. The first of those foul shots broke Johannah Leedham's record for points in a single Division II tournament (149 in 2009). Olson finished with 171 points in the 2023 tournament.

Ella Gilbertson scored 14 points and Maesyn Thiesen added 11 for Minnesota Duluth (32-4).