Toledo saw its three-game winning streak come to an end with a 77-73 setback against Northern Illinois on Saturday before 3,758 fans in Savage Arena. With the loss, UT falls to 12-4 overall, 3-2 in the Mid-American Conference.
NIU (12-4, 5-0 MAC) jumped out to an early lead and never trailed in the contest to snap an eight-game road losing skid in the series. The MAC West Division co-leading Huskies' most recent road triumph against UT occurred on Jan. 10, 2007 when they escaped Lucas County with a 65-58 victory.
Senior Janice Monakana paced the Rockets with season highs in points (21) and rebounds (11) to post her first double-double of the season and sixth in her collegiate career. The 2015-16 honorable mention All-MAC selection returned to the playing rotation after missing the last three games with a left shin injury.
Sophomore Kaayla McIntyre also contributed 18 points, eight boards and a game-high three rejections, while sophomore Mikaela Boyd had 12 points in a losing effort.
As a team, UT shot 38.9 percent (28-of-72) from the field, including 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from three-point range, and 70.6 percent (12-of-17) from the charity stripe to fall two games behind Central Michigan (13-5, 5-0 MAC) and Northern Illinois in the MAC West Division standings.
Courtney Woods led NIU with a contest-best 21 points, followed closely by Ally Lehman with 20 points and a game-tying high 11 caroms. The visitors also received 11 points from Cassidy Glenn and 10 each from Mikayla Voigt and Renee Sladek to extend their winning streak to a season-best six games.
Northern Illinois scored the game's first seven points and led 21-13 at the end of the first period.
The Rockets settled down nicely following the rough opening 10 minutes and actually outscored the Huskies in each of the final three quarters, but they dug themselves too big of an early hole to pull off the come-from-behind victory.
UT's deficit grew to as many as 17 points, 39-22, in the second stanza before it went on a 12-0 run to make the score 40-36 with 9:35 remaining in the third. The Midnight Blue & Gold tallied the final nine points before intermission and the first three after the break to trim the margin to only four points. Monakana sparked the rally with seven points to bring the home team to its feet and forced Northern Illinois to burn an early timeout in the third quarter. The 2016-17 team captain converted a pair of layups and drilled a triple to swing the momentum into the Rockets' favor.
UT continued to chip away at the deficit and utilized an 11-2 burst to come all the way back and knot the score at 64-64 with 7:54 left in regulation. Junior Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott capped the rally with six points to draw the teams even for the first time since the game started.
The squads then exchanged points over the next four-plus minutes until NIU's Glenn converted an offensive putback at the 3:07 mark to give the visitors an advantage they would not relinquish.
Toledo closed within two points late after a pair of free throws by Monakana, but the home team could get no closer as it suffered the tough four-point setback.
The Rockets will look to bounce back against two-time reigning MAC regular-season champion Ohio (12-4, 3-2 MAC) on Wednesday, Jan. 18. The opening tip versus the Bobcats is slated for 7:00 p.m. in Savage Arena and will be televised on the America Sports Network (ASN) and streamed live on ESPN3.
Toledo leads the all-time series against Ohio, 44-22, but has dropped the last two meetings against its MAC cross-division foe.
A year ago, UT suffered a 77-57 setback in Savage Arena to snap a 22-game home winning streak in the series (Feb. 13).