BOWLING GREEN – Naama Shafir scored a game-high 23 points, banking home a key three-pointer late in the second half, to lead the University of Toledo to a 48-38 win over the Bowling Green State University women's basketball team Sunday afternoon (Jan. 13). The Mid-American Conference game was held at the Stroh Center.
With the win, the Rockets improve to 13-2 on the season, while dropping the Falcons to 10-5 overall. Both teams are now 1-1 in MAC action.
UT held a one-point lead with just under four minutes left, as BGSU senior Chrissy Steffen sandwiched a conventional three-point play around the final media timeout of the day. Shafir, who picked up her fourth foul on that play, hit a pair of free throws to give her team a 37-34 lead with 2:49 left, before hitting the game's key shot.
After BGSU missed a three-point try on the next possession, Steffen blocked a layup attempt by UT's Andola Dortch, with the ball going out of bounds to the Rockets. With the shot clock winding down, Shafir fired a shot from beyond the arc. The shot banked off of the glass and dropped through the hoop with 1:56 remaining, putting the visitors up by six points, 40-34. Junior Jillian Halfhill, who led the Falcons with 13 points, hit a runner on the ensuing possession, but the home team would draw no closer.
BGSU shot just 22.4 percent from the field for the game, hitting only six field goals in the first half and five in the second. The Rockets shot only 33.3%, including a 7-for-27 effort in the second half (25.9%), but the visitors had a 47-32 rebounding advantage on the afternoon.
The Falcons made just three of their first 23 shot attempts to begin the game, and Toledo took a 12-point lead, the largest of the day, on a Brianna Jones jumper with 2:53 left in the half.
Trailing by that 23-11 deficit, however, BG proceeded to go 3-of-3 from the floor to end the half. Junior Katrina Salinas knocked down a three-point try, and freshman Miriam Justinger scored four-straight points. When redshirt junior Alexis Rogers made a layup in the final minute of play, the Falcons' run was 9-0, and BG's deficit was just three points at the half.
The home team extended that run to 12-0 on a Halfhill triple to open the second-half scoring. Moments later, another triple by the junior point guard gave the Falcons their first lead of the day, 26-25. That was the first of four lead changes, with the last coming on a jumper by UT's Inma Zanoguera with 7:08 remaining.
Zanoguera's shot gave the Rockets a 32-31 lead, and Shafir's three-point play with 6:25 on the clock extended the margin to four points. Steffen responded in kind, with her old-fashioned three-point play at the 3:54 mark, before Shafir found the bank to be open on a Sunday, giving the visitors a six-point edge with just under two minutes left.
Shafir and Halfhill were the only players to reach double digits in the scoring column. Lecretia Smith scored nine points for the Rockets, while Steffen had eight for the Falcons.
Halfhill scored all 13 of her points after halftime, as she and Steffen were the only two BG players to find the scoresheet in the second half.
The Falcons are home again on Wednesday night (Jan. 16), wrapping up a season-long five-game homestand with a 7:00 p.m. game vs. Ball State.