Ashby scored 18 of her 20 points in the second half and the Augusta State women upset No. 21 USC Aiken, 66-60, at the convocation center.
The Lady Jaguars (20-5, 13-5) avenged their buzzer-beating loss to the Lady Pacers earlier this month. More importantly, Augusta State now owns a one-game lead over USC Aiken (19-6, 12-6) for the Peach Belt Conference East Division title with one game to go.
“I was happy with the way our girls played,” said Lady Jaguars coach Nate Teymer, who defeated the Lady Pacers for the first time.
Augusta State snapped a seven-game losing streak to USC Aiken.
“It’s great that we’re playing for something at the end of the year,” Teymer said.
On Feb. 2, Augusta State blew a five-point lead to the Lady Pacers in the final 15 seconds, losing by one on a Mackenzie Reese 3-pointer at the buzzer. Ashby didn’t play in the contest because of a knee injury. This time, she came up huge.
After Daniela Tarailo staked USC Aiken to a 50-47 lead with a four-point play with 6:55 remaining, Ashby scored six points in a row. The Lady Pacers tied the game with 2:52 left, and Taylor Ayers, who posted 15 points and 10 rebounds for Augusta State, responded with a layup. Then, Ashby knocked down a jumper. She added two free throws with 24 seconds left to push the lead to six.
“I said no regrets,” Ashby said. “I wanted it. I wanted to help my team.”
USC Aiken lost its fourth in its past five outings, shooting 34 percent from the field. Tarailo led USC Aiken with 16 points (5 for 14 from the field), but after dropping 31 on Augusta State in the previous outing she didn’t take a shot in the final five minutes.
“We haven’t been playing good basketball lately,” USC Aiken coach Mike Brandt said. “We missed some easy shots and they played good defense.”