The UW-Parkside women’s basketball team didn’t go down without a fight Tuesday in a season-ending 77-59 road loss to Ashland (Ohio) in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

Parkside trimmed the Eagles’ lead to six points three times in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get any closer as Ashland pulled away to advance to a semifinal game against Michigan Tech on Saturday.

Carolina Rahkonen hit 4-of-8 shots from the field and scored a team-high 12 points for the seventh-seeded Rangers, who finished the season at 12-15 under first-year coach Jen Conely. Blair Arthur added eight points and eight rebounds.

Ashland’s Jodi Johnson knocked down 7-of-13 shots and 11-of-12 free throws for a game-high 26 points. The Eagles, who were ranked sixth in the latest WBCA Division-2 coaches poll, also received major contributions from Sara Loomis (10 points, eight rebounds) and Karlee Pireu (nine points, nine rebounds).

The Rangers cut second-seeded Ashland’s lead to 62-56 on Hannah Plockelman’s layup with just under five minutes left, but the Eagles answered with a 15-2 run to seal their eighth straight victory. Parkside was limited to only three points over the final 4:54.

Parkside was able to give Ashland a fourth-quarter scare despite struggling in the first half. The Eagles built a double-digit advantage with a 7-0 run midway through the first quarter and outscored the Rangers 16-12 in the second for a 37-21 halftime lead.

Led by Alyssa Nelson, Parkside began to chip away at Ashland’s lead in the third quarter. The freshman guard scored all eight of her points in the quarter, which ended with the Rangers trailing 51-41.

The Eagles had an answer for each Parkside run in the fourth quarter and connected on 15-of-18 free throws down the stretch to end the Rangers’ comeback bid.

Scott Koker

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