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Courtesy: Toledo Athletics
Senior Yolanda Richardson and the Rockets will look to secure a share of their second MAC regular-season crown in the last three years with a win at Western Michigan on Thursday.

MAC Overall Leader Toledo Travels to Division Rival Western Michigan on Thursday

Courtesy: Toledo Athletics
Release: 02/27/2013
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KALAMAZOO, MI - Toledo (24-2, 12-1 MAC) will look to secure at least a share of its second Mid-American Conference regular-season championship in the last three years when it travels to Western Michigan (9-17, 5-8 MAC) on Thursday, Feb. 28. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in University Arena.

With a win against the Broncos, UT would hold a two-game lead over Central Michigan (16-10, 10-3 MAC) or Ball State (13-13, 10-3 MAC) for the best overall mark in the league with two regular-season contests remaining. They would also wrap up a share of their ninth overall MAC title in school history in the process. The Chippewas host the Cardinals this evening in Mount Pleasant.

The Rockets, who are a conference-best No. 43 nationally in the latest RPI rankings, enter tomorrow's division showdown in the midst of a 12-game win streak, tied for the fifth-longest unbeaten stretch in school history, following Sunday's 76-63 come-from-behind triumph at CMU.

The Midnight Blue & Gold trailed 57-46 with 11:25 remaining in regulation before putting together a game-changing 30-6 run to avenge a loss earlier this season to the Chippewas.

Senior Naama Shafir and sophomore Inma Zanoguera spearheaded the late rally on the road, accounting for 21 of the final 30 points.

Shafir, this week's MAC West Division Player of the Week for a third time this season, finished with a season-high 29 points, five boards and three assists to propel Toledo to its school record 13-consecutive road triumph.

Senior Yolanda Richardson added a near double-double, contributing 18 points, nine rebounds and a game-high four rejections.

Zanoguera posted her second double-double of the season with 12 points, a team-high 11 caroms and three steals.

Junior Andola Dortch rounded out UT's double-digit scorers with 11 points, six rebounds and three helpers. With Sunday's effort, Dortch surpassed the 1,000-career point barrier, becoming the 23rd player in school history to accomplish the feat.

For the season, the Rockets are fueled offensively by the quartet of Shafir, Dortch, Richardson and Zanoguera, who are averaging 12.9, 11.4, 9.6 and 9.0 ppg, respectively. This group accounts for 64.1 percent of the team's scoring.

Toledo will face a WMU squad that has won three of its last five contests, most recently suffering a 73-69 setback at Eastern Michigan on Sunday. Michelle O'Brien led the Broncos with 21 points, five boards and three assists off the bench.

Western Michigan features an attack paced by Marquisha Harris' 8.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.7 bpg and 0.8 spg. The Broncos are 4-12 away from home this season.

UT and WMU will square off for the second time this season and the 67th time overall. The Rockets defeated the Broncos in the first meeting, 65-54, on Feb. 3 to secure a fifth-consecutive home victory over their division rival.

Toledo leads the all-time series, 47-19, winning nine of the last 10 games. The Rockets also hold a 19-11 edge in games played in Kalamazoo.

Following tomorrow's matchup, Toledo will host Eastern Michigan on Sunday, March 3. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. in Savage Arena.

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