KUTZTOWN - Ashley Wood was not a prolific scorer during her scholastic girls basketball career at Spring-Ford High School.
But at the collegiate level, Wood stepped up her game to the point where she was depended upon to score a high number of points on a nightly basis for Kutztown University’s squad.
Wood even surpassed the coveted 1,000-point career barrier during this, her senior season at Kutztown.
Wood developed into a standout guard for the Golden Bears, who became a vastly improved contingent during the 2012-13 campaign. The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) coaches honored Wood by selecting her to the first team among All-PSAC stars.
“I am very happy,” said Wood during a recent telephone interview. “I was surprised I got 1,000 points. In high school I wasn’t really a scorer. I played behind two big scorers (1,000-point scorers in guards Megan Bedard, Allie Kakareka).”
The Rams had some fine seasons back then. The achievements stood at the top until the current crop of Spring-Ford girls basketball players burst onto the scene. The 2012-23 Spring-Ford edition captured the PIAA Class AAAA state championship with a 60-45 victory over Cumberland Valley on Friday night, March 22, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Wood is impressed by what the Rams accomplished this year in breaking many of the records her group set several years ago.
“In college, I looked at basketball more and scored more,” said Wood. “I took it to my advantage. I wanted to score 1,000 points sooner than I did, but I finally got it.”
Her accelerated play was part of her senior leadership on an otherwise young team that still showed major improvement from the previous season in finishing with a 16-12 overall mark.
“My junior year we only had seven wins so we bounced back so much,” said Wood. “We made the playoffs (PSAC quarterfinals) and doubled our win total. We turned the whole program around, and Kutztown should be good for the next couple years. I am the only senior on the team with all these young kids. I directed them and learned from them. I am glad we improved from last year to this year.”
Wood felt better individual and team defense proved to be pivotal to Kutztown’s turnabout. Teams scored as many as 80 points per game against the Golden Bears last year, but this season that figured dropped considerably.
Wood herself was assigned to faceguard the top opposing player while all five players on the court assisted one another in blanketing all five foes at the same time.
The aggressiveness on defense gave Kutztown a different look this year, and it also enabled the team to be more aggressive at the offensive end of the court, too, under the guidance of head coach Janet Malouf.
“We were too timid last year,” said Wood. “The offense also changed and we got more looks to score,”
Wood’s highlight performances came against rival West Chester this year on the road on Jan. 16. Wood scored 26 points in one game against the Golden Rams. She shot 10-for-20 from the floor and 1-for-2 from beyond the arc, 5-for-6 at the foul line with two rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and two steals.
“I was in a zone,” said Wood. “I had 10 consecutive points. Every time I got the ball I scored. Each time we played them. We beat them three times this year. Last year they beat us twice. We improved so much.”
While at Spring-Ford, Wood starred in field hockey, basketball and lacrosse so she was unsure on which path to take in college.
“Kutztown was so close, but I never knew about it in high school,” said Wood. “I just had to follow my heart.”
Wood hopes to continue her basketball career beyond college. She has been invited to participate in some summer combines with hopes of landing a spot on a team overseas.
She will also have a sociology degree to fall back on. She might venture into counseling, like both of her parents; or social work. Working with delinquent children as a probation officer is also a possibility.
Wood completed her career with 1,285 points to rank sixth all-time at Kutztown. She also made 126 field goals from 3-point range to rank fifth.
Wood ended the season leading the Golden Bears in scoring (394 points, 14.3 points per game), field goals made (141), 3-pointers made (26), and she was also second in steals (45), assists (75) minutes played (33.3 per game) and free throws made (78).
Her career best of 33 points scored in a single game came against Shepherd on Jan. 11, 2011 as well as 13 field goals in that outing. Wood drilled a single-game best of six 3-pointers versus Cheyney also in January 2011.