TOLEDO, OH - Toledo closed out its home slate with a 49-39 victory against Northern Illinois on ‘Senior Day' before 4,628 fans inside Savage Arena. With the double-digit win, the Rockets (19-8, 12-3 MAC) are guaranteed at least the No. 3 seed in the overall league standings and have secured a double bye in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
UT limited the Huskies (12-15, 6-9 MAC) to 28.8 percent (17-of-59) from the field and 40.0 percent (2-of-5) from the free-throw line, holding its fourth opponent under 43 points this season. The 2011 WNIT champions took full advantage of NIU's shooting woes to bounce back from earlier this week's loss at Eastern Michigan.
Offensively, senior Haylie Linn led Toledo with 14 points, shooting 3-of-5 from three-point range, to score in double figures for the ninth time this season. Sophomore Andola Dortch added 12 points with a team-high five assists to help the Midnight Blue & Gold sweep the regular-season series against Northern Illinois for the second time in the last four seasons.
The 2010-11 MAC regular-season champs also received solid contributions from senior Courtney Ingersoll (7 pts., 6 rebs., career-tying best 3 blks.) and junior Yolanda Richardson (6 pts., 9 rebs., 2 blks.) to end the regular season on a six-game home win streak and improve to 12-3 overall in Savage Arena.
After spotting NIU an early 9-2 lead, Toledo went on a 10-2 burst to take its first lead of the contest, 12-11, prompting the visitors to take a timeout at 13:13. Linn sparked the run with back-to-back triples to bring the home crowd to their feet.
UT went cold from the field following the run and did not score for the next six-plus minutes. Fortunately for the Rockets, their defense stepped up and allowed the Huskies to muster only two points themselves to keep the lead, 14-13, with 7:05 remaining in the opening half.
Junior Kyle Baumgartner's basket ended the scoring drought and in the process jump-started a mini 7-0 run to push Toledo's margin to 19-13 at the 5:33 mark.
Toledo then benefitted from five-consecutive points from Ingersoll in the waning moments of the first period to take a 26-19 cushion into the locker room.
UT's Linn drained her third trey of the divisional matchup to begin the second half and followed it up with a traditional three-point play, extending the home team's margin to double figures, 34-21, at the 12:58 mark.
Linn's six points were key components in a 10-0 run to create some breathing room for the two-time defending MAC West Division champs.
Toledo's lead remained in double digits until NIU's Natecia Augusta split a pair of charity tosses to make the score 43-34 with 3:52 left in regulation.
UT tightened up the defense from there and would not allow the Huskies to get any closer, closing out the 10-point victory with four free throws in the final minute of play. The Rockets shot a season-high 87.5 percent (7-of-8) from the charity stripe.
Kim Davis paced Northern Illinois with 14 points and nine rebounds. Davis was the only Huskie in double figures, as they were limited to their lowest scoring output of the season.
The Rockets will return to the court on Tuesday, Feb. 28 when they wrap up their regular season at Ball State. The opening tip is slated for 7:00 p.m. in Worthen Arena.
UT and BSU will be meeting for the second time this season and the 67th time overall. Toledo downed the Cardinals in the first meeting, 63-48, on Thursday, Jan. 19 in the Glass City and will look to sweep the regular-season series for the second consecutive season.
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