MAC Overall Leader Toledo Battles Division Rival Eastern Michigan on Sunday
TOLEDO, OH - Toledo (25-2, 13-1 MAC) will look to capture its second outright Mid-American Conference regular-season championship in the last three years when it hosts Eastern Michigan (8-19, 6-8 MAC) on Sunday, March 3. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. in Savage Arena.
With a win against the Eagles, UT would hold at least a two-game lead over Ball State (14-13, 11-3 MAC) for the best overall mark in the league with only one regular-season contest remaining. They would also lock up the No. 1 seed in the MAC Tournament for an eighth time in school history.
The Rockets, who are a conference-best No. 43 nationally in the latest RPI rankings, enter Sunday's division showdown in the midst of a 13-game win streak, tied for the fourth-longest unbeaten stretch in school history, following Thursday's 75-42 triumph at Western Michigan.
Junior Andola Dortch paced a balanced Toledo attack with 15 points and six rebounds to help the Midnight Blue & Gold sweep the regular-season series from the Broncos 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, as UT surpassed the 70-point plateau for a fourth-consecutive game.
Senior Yolanda Richardson also contributed six points at WMU 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.
For the season, the Rockets are fueled offensively by the quartet of Shafir, Dortch, Richardson and Zanoguera, who are averaging 12.9, 11.5, 9.5 and 9.0 ppg, respectively. This group accounts for 63.8 percent of the team's scoring.
Toledo will face an EMU squad that has won its last two contests, most recently claiming a 54-45 victory at Northern Illinois on Thursday. Desyree Thomas led the Eagles with 17 points and five rebounds.
Eastern Michigan features an attack paced by Natachia Watkins' 9.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.1 apg and 1.9 spg. The Eagles are 4-9 away from home this season.
UT and EMU will square off for a second time this season and the 71st time overall. The Rockets defeated the Eagles in the first meeting, 56-40, on Jan. 16 to snap a four-game losing skid against their division rival.
Toledo leads the all-time series, 42-28, but has split the last 10 games vs. EMU.
Following Sunday's matinee, Toledo will wrap up its regular season against Ball State on Wednesday, March 6. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in Savage Arena.
Prior to Wednesday's contest, UT's five seniors - Kyle Baumgartner, Riley McCormick, Yolanda Richardson, Naama Shafir and Lecretia Smith - will be honored.
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