Senior Ashley Horton wants to go to law school and eventually become a lawyer after she graduates from Case Western Reserve University in the spring, but for now, the only court she's focused on is the one in Horsburgh Gym where she's been dropping the gavel on opponents all season long.
Horton recently took the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and wants to stay in the area for law school after she finishes her undergraduate degree in history and psychology in the spring.
"The LSAT was pretty tough and finding the time to study for it was even harder," Horton said. "But the real tough stuff comes next year when I hopefully get into law school."
Unlike most freshmen that came in at the same time as her, Horton started her collegiate career just a few months after her 17th birthday, and being younger than her classmates played a big part in the Akron native's decision to go to college close to home.
"I wanted to come to a school that was close to my parents because obviously I was younger and I've never really liked being away from home," Horton said. "Every time my parents come to a game they bring me medicine or groceries, so that's been great. My brother wants to go to school in Texas, so my parents tell him that they won't be able to do the same things for him that they do for me."
Anyone who has attended a Spartan basketball game in the past few years has likely seen Horton's family in the stands in full-force, sporting their "Horton University" gear in support of Ashley, who has been a force inside for the Spartans the past four seasons.
"I don't know where that came from or why they wear them," laughed Horton. "I think my mom just ordered (the shirts) one day. My dad always tries to come to every game wearing something with my name on it or some kind of Case gear."
Ashley's father, Dalvin, always told her when she was younger that it didn't matter how many points she scored in a game, but doing the little things like rebounding is what wins games. This advice is something Horton has carried with her throughout her playing career and has given her the determination to be the top rebounder night-in and night-out for the Spartans.
"My dad used to joke that when I was younger that I would miss lay-ups on purpose just so I could grab my own rebound," Horton said. "When I look at a stat sheet I don't care how many points I score, I only care if someone out-rebounded me."
So far this season, Horton is averaging a team-best 10.0 rebounds to go along with an impressive 15.0 points per game and has recorded four double-doubles in the last five games.
Not coincidentally, the Spartans have won all five of those contests.
In her career, Horton has grabbed a total of 662 rebounds, placing her fourth all-time in the Case Western Reserve record book. The all-time record is 987, held by former Spartan great Erin Rogalski '01.
"My personal goal is to grab 20 rebounds in a game before I'm done here," Horton said. "It would be nice to be first all-time in rebounds, but I don't think I have enough time left to be number one."
Horton knows accomplishing her goals will be a difficult challenge, especially when the Spartans begin the conference portion of their schedule.
"I don't feel nervous about playing the UAA part of the schedule because every day we get better and better and this year I really feel we can compete," Horton said. "I'm really excited to play some of these top teams and see what happens."
Horton and the Spartans have already faced defending National Champion DePauw University earlier this season, falling just short down the stretch in a seven point-loss. Playing teams like DePauw, and 2006 Final Four teams New York University and Washington (MO) University, as well as the University of Chicago isn't anything new for Horton, who believes she's more comfortable competing against the nation's best because she has done so for the past four years.
"We are such a young team and some of the younger players were intimidated to play a national champion," Horton said. "But to see that we could actually hang with them was encouraging and having such a competitive schedule will only help in the long run."
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