Toledo Runs Away From Northern Illinois in MAC West Division Mat - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

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Toledo Runs Away From Northern Illinois in MAC West Division Matchup, 72-40

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Toledo registered a 72-40 triumph over Northern Illinois on Wednesday morning in Savage Arena. The Mid-American Conference West Division showdown was played before a rambunctious 5,009 fans.

The Rockets' (23-2, 10-1) victory was their 11th in a row, tied for the sixth-longest unbeaten stretch in school history.

UT broke open a close contest with a game-changing 23-2 run over the course of both halves to sweep the regular-season series from the Huskies (7-18, 2-10 MAC) for a second-consecutive season.

With the score tied 17-17 with 7:19 remaining in the first half, senior Naama Shafir took the game over and poured in 15 of the 23 points to help the home team build an insurmountable cushion. Shafir was credited with eight points over the final seven-plus minutes in the openng stanza to give Toledo a 29-19 lead at the break.

The Hoshaya, Israel native stayed aggressive to begin the second period and contributed seven of the squad's first 11 points to extend the margin to 40-19 with 16:40 left in regulation. The Huskies never made a serious run in the second half, only managing to cut the margin to 16 points.

Shafir paced the Midnight Blue & Gold with a season-tying best 25 points, four steals, three assists and three boards. The three-time All-MAC honoree shot an efficient 7-of-11 from the field, including a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, and 8-of-10 from the charity stripe to tally at least 20 points for a third time this season and 20th occasion in her UT career.

Senior Yolanda Richardson added 10 points with four caroms, junior Andola Dortch had seven points with four thefts and senior Kyle Baumgarnter contributed a game-high seven rebounds to push Toledo's record to 11-1 at home this season. The Rockets' average margin of victory in Savage Arena is 19.0 ppg (66.5-47.5) in 2012-13.

As a team, UT connected on 47.1 percent (24-of-51) from the floor, including 37.5 percent from three-point range, and 66.7 percent (18-of-27) from the free throw line to claim its fifth-consecutive victory over its division rival. The Rockets also finished with a 35-33 edge on the boards and had more assists (19) than turnovers (12) for the 13th time this season.

NIU was limited to a season-low 27.7 percent (13-of-47) from the field and equaled its season-low scoring output. The Huskies were also guilty of 23 turnovers, which Toledo translated into a whopping 29 points. Natecia Augusta led the visitors with 12 points.

The Rockets will return to the hardwood on Sunday, Feb. 24 when they travel to MAC West Division rival Central Michigan. The matchup between the top two teams in the division will tipoff at 2:00 p.m. in McGuirk Arena and will be televised on SportsTime Ohio.