Zanoguera scores career high as Rockets advance in WNITWritten by Vincent D. Scebbi | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Forward Inma Zanoguera scored a career-high 24 points to lead the Toledo women’s basketball team (29-3) past Youngstown State 61-43 on March 23.
Zanoguera, who was perfect from beyond the arc (3-of-3), shot 10-of-14 from the field. She also picked up three steals in her 35 minutes of court time.
“She is in fantastic shape and if there is a player who can play that many minutes and play them with intensity, it’s someone that really has prided herself with making her body and her mind and her heart and soul, everything is in pristine shape,” said Toledo head coach Tricia Cullop. “She really prepared herself for the season she’s having and it’s neat to see her have the fruits of her labor.”
Both of her first-half steals, which occurred in a 57-second span, resulted in fast-break plays that ended with a layup for Zanoguera.
Youngstown State finished the game shooting 25 percent (13-of-52). This was the ninth time the Rockets held an opponent to under 30 percent shooting this season.
In addition, this is the 19th time this season UT held an opposing team to fewer than 50 points.
“I thought our defense prevailed and that’s what we’ve hung our hat on all season; that’s why we won today and we’re glad to be looking forward to the third round,” Cullop said.
Penguins standout forward and Horizon League player of the year Brandi Brown, who averages a team-high 20.4 ppg, finished today with 10 points, shooting 3-of-13 from the field, before fouling out with five minutes to play in regulation.
“She is so physical, she goes so hard; our plan was to just take charges on her and I got to compliment my teammates because we got her out of the game by fouling,” Zanoguera said.
The Rockets pulled ahead in the first half by as much as 18, including a 13-0 run lasting 6:49. Zanoguera and center Yolanda Richardson contributed four points each and Naama Shafir connected on a three-pointer during the run.
Youngstown State pulled to within 13 with 9:39 left to play in the second half, but never saw the deficit shrink to below double digits.
UT held the lead for the entirety of both WNIT games this year.
“I think our players have been focused coming out of the gate to get a good start because especially on your home court is not to give the other team confidence right out of the tip. They’ve really prided themselves on having a good start,” Cullop said.
The 29 wins this season ties the record for most wins in a season for the women’s basketball team. The record was set two years ago, when UT won the WNIT.
“We have a lot of respect for the history of this program. We know we’re doing a special thing here but we really want more,” Zanoguera said. “Whatever this season is going to end up, we want it to be with as many wins as we can and more than past teams than this program is a great honor.”
The Rockets will face either Eastern Illinois or Illinois, who play March 25 in Urbana, Ill.
The location for Toledo’s Sweet-16 matchup is yet to be determined.