Late charge by Toledo gives BG first league lossWritten by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Trailing nearly the entire game, Toledo scored the game’s final eight points to edge out Bowling Green 52-50 in front of a near-record crowd of 5,131 fans at Savage Arena. In the last three regular-season games, UT has swept the series by a combined six points.
Senior guard Courtney Ingersoll, the reigning Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week, was held scoreless until her three-pointer with a minute remaining gave the Rockets a 51-50 advantage, their first lead since a 2-0 edge early in the game.
“It was like the oceans finally parted,” Ingersoll said. “Jasmine Matthews played a really good defensive game on me. She was making it extremely hard to get any type of shot off. It felt good to finally get a good look at the basket.”
The victory for the Rockets (16-7, 9-2 MAC) was the team’s eighth straight and kept UT tied atop the MAC West with Eastern Michigan. For Bowling Green (20-4, 10-1), the loss ended their unbeaten record in league play and was their first since Dec. 18, 14 games ago.
“This was everything it lived up to be and more,” Toledo head coach Tricia Cullop said. “I’m really proud of our players for keeping focused and staying true to the end.”
“When everyone [in the MAC] plays their ‘A-game,’ Toledo’s ‘A-game’ is the best in the league,” Bowling Green head coach Curt Miller said. “We have been the most consistent team in the league; that’s why we are still in first place. We proved to ourselves we can go toe-to-toe with them. We threw a lot of haymakers tonight, we just never knocked them out.”
The Rockets were led by sophomore point guard Andola Dortch, who scored 16 points on 7-of-18 shooting with five rebounds. She also battled an ankle injury she suffered near the end of the first half.
“I’m proud of Andola Dortch,” Cullop said. “She suffered through some foul issues and a sprained ankle but she is such a tough fighter. She played an amazing game.”
Junior center Yolanda Richardson (5 of 10) had 10 points and six rebounds while freshman forward Inma Zanoguera (5 of 11) scored 10 off the bench.
The win was far from easy for Toledo. The Falcons led by as many as 14 in a dominant first half. BG held UT’s second- and third-leading scorers in Ingersoll and Richardson scoreless through the first 20 minutes with just two combined shots as Bowling Green took a 33-20 halftime lead.
“We had some players that were passive in the first half,” Cullop said. “After we talked a little bit at halftime they realized what we needed to do. I think we were just second-guessing ourselves, I don’t know whether it was nerves or what.”
The Rockets chipped away in the second half but still trailed by six with 3:36 remaining at 50-44. The Falcons, however, failed to score the rest of the game as Dortch and Ingersoll each scored four to give UT the 52-50 victory.
Toledo travels to Mount Pleasant to take on Central Michigan (12-12, 4-6) on Feb. 15 looking to keep the lead in the battle for the MAC West crown.