TOLEDO - Toledo continued its impressive start to the 2012-13 campaign with a resounding 83-59 victory over Milwaukee on Saturday before a season-high 4,034 fans in Savage Arena. With the triumph, the Rockets' run their win streak to six-consecutive games and improve to 7-1 on the season. UT is off to its best start since the 1996-97 season when the Midnight Blue & Gold began the year a perfect 8-0 and finished with a 27-4 mark.
The story of today's non-league matchup was UT's pressure defense. The three-time reigning Mid-American Conference West Division champions forced the Panthers (4-5) into 24 turnovers and converted those miscues into 25 points. They were also credited with 15 steals, tied for second-most in a contest in 2012-13. Toledo's best effort is 16 thefts vs. SIU Edwardsville in the opening game of the Glass City Tournament last Saturday, Dec. 1.
Offensively, senior Naama Shafir paced four Rockets in double figures with a season-high 19 points, six assists, six rebounds and four steals.
Joining Shafir in double figures were sophomore Inma Zanoguera with 12 points, four boards and three thefts, senior Lecretia Smith had 11 points with a team-high eight caroms and junior Andola Dortch contributed 10 points, six dimes, five rebounds and two steals.
UT did not trail in the contest and shot a sizzling 46.2 percent (30-of-65) from the field, including 30.0 percent (6-of-20) from beyond the arc, and 65.4 percent (17-of-26) from the charity stripe to avenge a 60-57 setback to Milwaukee on Dec. 18, 2011 in the Klotsche Center.
The Rockets also did a good job taking care of the ball, finishing with 16 assists and a season-tying low 11 turnovers. Toledo, which began the day leading the MAC in turnover margin (+5.6), has now tallied more helpers than miscues in four of the eight contests this season.
Angela Rodriguez paced UWM with 13 points, five caroms and four dimes, while Sami Tucker and Emily Decorah had 12 points and 10 points, respectively. As a team, the Panthers were limited to 34.0 percent (18-of-53) from the floor.
Shafir and Zanoguera combined to score 25 points in the opening period, helping UT claim a 52-25 cushion at the intermission. The dynamic duo were nearly unstoppable in the opening 20 minutes and shot 10-of-14 from the field, propelling Toledo to its highest offensive output in a half this season.
The Rockets' lead ballooned to a game-high 31 points early in the second stanza, 58-27, before they put it in cruise control and settled for a comfortable 24-point victory.
Toledo will take the next six days off to focus on final exams before returning to the hardwood on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Big East member Marquette. Tipoff from the Al McGuire Center is slated for 7:00 p.m. (CT).