Goodall leads Rockets in 63-37 exhibition victory over Alaska AnchorageWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Entering the 2010-11 campaign with high expectations after two consecutive winning seasons that saw Toledo compile a 43-22 overall record and a 23-9 mark in Mid-American Conference play, the Rockets started this year on the right foot with a 63-37 exhibition win over visiting Alaska Anchorage Nov. 4 at Savage Arena.
“I’m pleased that we had a great start to the game,” Toledo head coach Tricia Cullop said. “I’m sure trying a lot of different combinations played with our rhythm at times and made it a little difficult for us to keep some continuity going, but it was important for our staff to see different lineups together and give some kids some chances to prove what they could do so that when we head into an official game, we’ve already been tried and tested.”
All twelve Toledo players who were dressed and healthy to participate in the contest saw game action against the Seawolves. The Rockets shot 46.9 percent from the field as a team while limiting Alaska Anchorage to just 26 percent shooting on the other end. Even though exhibition games serve as warm-ups for many teams, they also provide coaches and players with an idea of how well-prepared they are for the season ahead.
Despite being a Division II opponent, the Seawolves were no slouch for Toledo, having been to the Division II Final Four in two out of the last three seasons. In fact, Alaska Anchorage debuted at No. 13 in the Division II Top 25 preseason poll released by USA Today/ESPN on Wednesday, which marks the 50th-straight week the Seawolves have made an appearance in the poll for the fourth-longest streak in Division II.
“I think they [Alaska Anchorage] pointed out some glaring things,” Cullop said. “We’ve got to do a better job on the boards. We did not shoot the free-throw shot very well tonight. We were 50 percent from the free throw line, and we didn’t get there as many times as I would’ve liked.
“Overall I’m pleased with the win, but I also know that in watching film we’re going to have a lot to improve upon before we play that first game.”
While Alaska Anchorage did outrebound the Rockets by a 38-36 margin, the Seawolves shot a mere 21.7 percent from the field in the first half and went without a point until the 13:57 mark. Meanwhile, Toledo opened up the contest with a 25-7 lead as Alaska Anchorage struggled to get into any sort of rhythm. The Rockets scored 14 points off the Seawolves’ 18 first half turnovers while also holding a 14-6 edge in points in the paint.
Senior forward and Co-captain Melissa Goodall led Toledo with 13 points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes, while senior guard and Co-captain Jessica Williams and sophomore guard Riley McCormick had 11 points apiece.
“I think it went well,” Goodall said. “It’s a good environment for a lot of our newcomers. We do have a fairly new team, as far as how many returners compared to newcomers that we have. We just came out ready and from the start, each and every one of us knew we had a role to play.”
Goodall established her role as one of the team leaders and potentially the go-to player for the Rockets this season. She shot 50 percent from the field in the game, showing flashes of her versatility offensively as she displayed her ability to take the outside shot by connecting on three of her seven three-point attempts.
“The three-point range has been something that my game has been missing a little bit,” Goodall said. “I was a little more hesitant last year, and I really worked on it this summer to really improve my range. I knew I was going to have lots of opportunities out on the three-point line to get those looks.
“Come MAC season once everybody’s scouted everybody, now I have the total package. I’ve got inside game and outside game.”
Cullop said she see’s Goodall filling that leader void left in Toledo’s lineup with the departures of Tanika Mays, Allie Clifton and Lisa Johnson to graduation.
“Goody really invested a lot of time in the gym this summer and it’s paid off,” Cullop said. “She’s going to be a tough matchup. The thing I appreciate about her is she gives a calmness on the court because of her experience level and her leadership qualities.
“It’s nice to have a senior who wants that role.”
The Rockets open up the regular season at home in Savage Arena on Nov. 12 against St. Francis (PA) at 7 p.m. in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT.