TOLEDO - Toledo (19-2, 7-1 MAC) moved past Mid-American Conference West Division foe Western Michigan, 65-54, in a Sunday matinee played before 4,241 fans in Savage Arena. With today's victory and a Central Michigan loss, the Rockets extend their win streak to seven-consecutive games and move into a tie with the Chippewas (13-8, 7-1 MAC) for the top spot in the division.
The Midnight Blue & Gold overcame a flurry of turnovers and missed shots early on, but eventually molded consistent play towards the end of the opening period. UT was held to 25 percent (4-of-16) shooting from the floor and turned the ball over eight times in the early going, leading to a 16-10 deficit with 9:14 left in the half. It was only the second time UT has trailed after the first 10 minutes of a game all season.
A fast-break layup from sophomore Inma Zanoguera at the 9:07 mark put life back into the Rockets and the crowd, igniting a 21-3 game-changing run to close out the half with UT leading 31-20.
The Broncos (6-15, 2-6 MAC) were able to get within six points with 14:31 left in the second half, 39-33, but that was as close as they would get.
Four Rockets reached double figures, led by junior Andola Dortch's game-high 18 points, seven rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes.
Senior Naama Shafir just missed posting her second double-double of the season, contributing 14 points, a game-high nine helpers, six boards and three steals.
Zanoguera added 11 points, a game-high seven caroms and equaled her career high with two rejections. Junior Brianna Jones rounded out UT's double-digit scorers with 10 points in 20 minutes off the bench.
The Broncos were paced by Miracle Woods and Marquisha Harris with 16 and 12 points, respectively. Toledo held Western Michigan to just 28.0 percent (7-of-25) from the field in the first half, but the visitors shot a respectable 57.7 percent (15-of-26) in the final stanza.
UT countered its poor first-half shooting effort with a solid performance from the free throw line. The Rockets entered today's contest shooting just 63 percent, but made 9-of-11 in the first half and closed out the game with a 12-of-16 (75.0%) effort from the stripe.
Toledo overpowered the Broncos 42-32 on the glass, including an overwhelming 17-6 edge on the offensive end.
After the eight miscues early on, the Rockets settled down and committed only four additional turnovers over the final 30 minutes. The three-time reigning MAC West Division champions shot 40.0 percent (26-of-65) from the field, and Jones' production led the home team to outscore Western Michigan 38-26 in the paint.
The Rockets will return to the court on Wednesday, Feb. 6 when they travel to MAC East Division co-leader Miami. The opening tip from Millett Hall is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.