Toledo Throttles Western Michigan to Claim Share of MAC Regular-Season Title, 75-42
KALAMAZOO, MI - Toledo claimed a share of its second overall Mid-American Conference regular-season title in the last three seasons with a resounding 75-42 victory over Western Michigan on Thursday in University Arena. With the double-digit triumph, the Rockets push their win streak to 13-consecutive games, tied for fourth longest in school history, and improve to 25-2 overall, 13-1 in the league.
UT, which has now won nine league titles in school history, possesses a two-game lead over Ball State (14-13, 11-3 MAC) for the best overall mark in the conference with only two regular-season contests remaining.
Junior Andola Dortch paced a balanced Toledo attack with 15 points and six rebounds to sweep the regular-season series from the Broncos (9-18, 5-9 MAC) for a fourth time in the last five seasons.
Senior Naama Shafir added 13 points and senior Lecretia Smith and sophomore Inma Zanoguera chipped in 10 points each. UT also received nine points from junior Brianna Jones to surpass the 70-point plateau for a fourth-consecutive game and 14th time this season.
Senior Yolanda Richardson also contributed six points in tonight's one-sided affair and in the process became the 24th player in school history to reach the 1,000-career point plateau.
Zanoguera helped UT dominate the boards against its division foe, pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds to collect her second straight double-double and third of the year. As a team, Toledo held a sizable 44-27 cushion on the glass.
The Rockets shot an impressive 50.8 percent (31-of-61) from the field, including 44.4 percent (4-of-9) from three-point land, and a perfect 100.0 percent (9-of-9) from the free throw line to earn their school record 14th-straight win away from home.
Marquisha Harris led the Broncos with 11 points and six caroms. The home team was stifled by Toledo's pressure defense and limited to 30.8 percent (16-of-52) from the floor, including 0-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Shafir helped Toledo establish control at the outset, knocking down three of her first four shots to give the visitors an 11-4 lead at the 14:59 mark. The Rockets' effort was aided when WMU's Aurielle Anderson picked up two quick fouls and was forced to the bench.
UT continued to push the action, reeling off 21-straight points to open up a 21-4 cushion with 10:10 left in first stanza. While Toledo was scoring easy baskets in transition, the Broncos went more over nine minutes without a point, helping the Midnight Blue & Gold build a sizable lead.
Toledo was relentless in the attack in the waning moments of the first half, taking advantage of five field goals from close range by Smith to assume a 44-17 bulge at the intermission.
UT then put the game out of reach midway through the second half on the strength of seven points from Dortch to make the difference 64-32 at 9:14.
Toledo emptied its bench at that point and coasted to the impressive 33-point road victory. The four-time reigning MAC West Division champions have now won four of their last six games by at least 30 points.
The Rockets return to the hardwood on Sunday, March 3 when they host Eastern Michigan. Tip-off is slated for 2:00 p.m. in Savage Arena.
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