Toledo Prevails at Kent State to Stay Atop MAC West Division Standings, 66-55
KENT, OH - The year was 2002 and the President of the United States was George W. Bush, Connecticut won the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship, New England captured the Super Bowl and Toledo last defeated Kent State in the M.A. C Center. Fast forward a decade and the Rockets' ended a four-game losing skid to the Golden Flashes on the road, claiming a 66-55 victory on Saturday before a SportsTime Ohio television audience. With the impressive wire-to-wire win, UT stretches its unbeaten streak to a season-high seven consecutive contests and improves to 15-7 overall, 8-2 in the Mid-American Conference.
Senior Courtney Ingersoll paced the reigning MAC regular-season champs with 20 points, equaling her career high with five triples for the second straight game. Ingersoll drilled a stellar 5-of-9 shots from beyond the arc and tallied at least 20 points for the fourth time in her UT career.
Junior Lecretia Smith added 14 points with seven rebounds, senior Haylie Linn chipped in 13 points and sophomore Andola Dortch had 12 points, six boards and a game-high six assists to help the Midnight Blue & Gold secure their 12th consecutive victory over a MAC East Division opponent.
The Rockets shot 44.7 percent (21-of-47) from the field, including 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from three-point range, and 68.2 percent (15-of-22) from the charity stripe to remain atop the MAC West Division standings.
UT scored the game's first 10 points and never looked back, forcing KSU (5-15, 4-6 MAC) into a timeout at 17:26. Smith fueled the visitor's strong start with three baskets and one free throw. The Fort Wayne, IN native was fantastic around the basket, knocking down 6-of-7 field goal attempts.
Kent State did not get on the scoreboard until Jamie Hutcheson made a jumper at the 15:46 mark to set the difference at 13-2. The home team missed seven of its first eight shots and was guilty of four turnovers in the opening four-plus minutes to dig themselves into an insurmountable hole.
UT supported a sizable lead as the first half wore on, taking advantage of a pair of three-point field goals from Ingersoll and Linn to establish a 27-8 cushion with 6:22 left on the first half clock.
Toledo's advantage did not slip below 14 points for the remainder of the period, as the 2011 WNIT champs notched a 32-18 bulge at the intermission. The Rockets limited the Golden Flashes to 25.0 percent (8-of-32) from the floor, including 9.1 percent (1-of-11) from beyond the arc, and held their opponent under 20 points in a period for the fifth time this season.
The Midnight Blue & Gold received two more treys from Linn to begin the second stanza to increase their margin to 41-22 with 17:07 left in regulation.
Kent State did not go down without a fight, though, and strung together a 15-5 run to close the score to 50-37 at the 8:32 mark. Tazmin Barroilhet sparked the burst with three baskets, prompting UT to take a timeout.
Toledo regrouped very nicely following the stoppage, and Ingersoll delivered the knockout punch with five-consecutive points to re-establish a double digit lead. Dortch then sealed the triumph with seven points in the waning moments.
Diamon Beckford and Barroilhet led KSU with 12 points each. The home team ended the game at 38.7 percent (24-of-62) from the field, including 16.7 percent (3-of-18) from three-point land.
The Rockets return to action next Saturday, Feb. 11 when they wrap up cross division play against arch-rival Bowling Green. The opening tip is slated for noon from Savage Arena and will be televised live on STO.
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