ATLANTA, GA - Toledo claimed a hard-fought 46-43 victory over Georgia State on Sunday in the championship game of the GSU Holiday & Hoops Tournament inside the GSU Sports Arena. With the triumph, UT wraps up its non-conference slate with a 12-1 mark.
Senior Naama Shafir led two Rockets in double figures with 11 points, while junior Andola Dortch had 10 points to help extend their win streak to 11-consecutive games.
The three-time Mid-American Conference West Division champions also received stout efforts from senior Lecretia Smith (8 pts., 4 rebs.) and sophomore Inma Zanoguera (7 pts., career-high 14 rebs.) to capture their fourth tourney title this season.
Zanoguera was named the tournament MVP, contributing 8.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in this weekend's two victories. The Llucamajor, Spain native was joined on the all-tourney squad by senior Yolanda Richardson (14.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg).
Toledo shot 25.8 percent (16-of-62) from the field, including 20.0 percent (3-of-15) from three-point land, and 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from the charity stripe.
The storyline in today's non-conference finale was UT's ability to get to the charity stripe and convert. The Rockets made 11 free throws, while GSU (8-3) converted only two.
Toledo also played a strong game defensively and limited the Panthers to 31.7 percent (19-of-60) from the floor and 33.3 percent (2-of-6) from the free throw line.
Kayla Nolan and Kendra Long paced the host Panthers with 13 points each.
At the outset, the Rockets received back-to-back layups from junior Brianna Jones and Richardson to give them a 9-2 lead at the 12:59 mark.
UT would go scoreless for the next five-plus minutes, while GSU countered with 7-0 burst to knot the difference at 9-9 with 7:56 left in opening half. Three different Panthers were credited with baskets in the run to draw the teams even.
The score would be tied on three more occasions, before Georgia State utilized a 7-2 burst to open up a 22-17 at the 1:38 mark. Nolan opened the run with a three-point play, while Cody Paulk and Long contributed field goals to give the home team a two-possession lead.
Zanoguera accounted for Toledo's final five points before the intermission to trim the deficit to 22-20 at the break.
To begin the second half, GSU's Long buried a pair of triples to extend its margin to 30-25 with 17:02 left in regulation.
The Panthers' Nolan accounted for the next six points to make the score 36-30 at the 10:53 mark.
Toledo then found its grove offensively for a moment and responded with a game-changing 10-2 run to recapture the lead, 40-38, with 8:06 remaining. Shafir started the burst with a trey, followed by back-to-back layups by Smith and a three-point play from Dortch to give visitors its first lead since the 4:21 mark in the opening period.
Neither team scored for the next five-plus minutes until UT's Smith made a layup with 2:12 left in the second half.
The squads traded points before UT's defense came up big one more time and forced a pair of misses to maintain the four-point bulge, 44-40, with 33 seconds left.