Toledo tasted defeat for the first time in almost three weeks with a 60-59 setback to Western Michigan on Sunday before 4,023 fans in Savage Arena. The loss snaps the Rockets' four-game win streak and drops them to 13-12 overall, 8-6 in the Mid-American Conference.
Senior Andola Dortch paced UT with 18 points and six assists. Junior Inma Zanoguera and senior Brianna Jones were Toledo's next high scorers with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Zanoguera added a game-high 14 rebounds, while Jones had 10 to post their ninth- and sixth-career double-doubles, respectively.
UT's other two starters, senior Janelle Reed-Lewis and sophomore Ana Capotosto, combined for only 15 points on 6-of-27 shooting. The duo were averaging 24.5 points during Toledo's recent unbeaten stretch, knocking down 45.1 percent (32-of-71) from the floor.
Toledo's offense was stymied by WMU's defense and limited to 31.9 percent (22-of-69) from the field, including 10.0 percent (2-of-20) from beyond the arc, and 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the free throw line en route to sustaining its seventh home setback on the year.
All-MAC candidate Marquisha Harris led Western Michigan with a game-high 20 points off the bench, while Miracle Woods tallied 10 to help the Broncos sweep the regular-season series from Toledo for the first time since 2005-06.
The Rockets trailed by at least three points for a majority of the second half until Capotosto converted a fast-break layup to trim the deficit to 54-52 at the 5:03 mark.
The teams then traded baskets on two occasions over the next three-plus minutes, with UT's Capotosto drilling a triple from the baseline to make it a one-point contest, 58-57, with 1:17 remaining in regulation.
With the UT crowd on its feet and cheering for a defensive stop, Western Michigan's Harris delivered a jumper from the free throw line to increase the margin to 60-57 with 57 seconds left.
Following a timeout, Toledo's Dortch drove to the basket and converted a layup to once again make it a one-point affair, 60-59, with 22 seconds left.
The Rockets immediately fouled on WMU's ensuing possession, and the visitor's Meredith Shipman missed the front end of the one-and-on. Unfortunately for the Midnight Blue & Gold, the Broncos' Harris pulled down the offensive rebound to retain possession.
UT was again forced to foul and Western Michigan's A.J. Johnson missed both of her attempts to keep it a one-point game with 15 seconds remaining.
Zanoguera came down with the rebound on Johnson's second miss and gave the ball up to the speedy Reed-Lewis.
The Detroit, MI quickly went the length of the floor and had her shot come up short along the left baseline. The loose ball squirted out of bounds off a WMU player to keep it UT's possession with 7.3 seconds left.
Toledo had one final chance to win the game in regulation or possibly force overtime, but Capotosto's three-point shot in the waning seconds was off target.
In the first half, the Rockets exploded out to a 12-3 lead at the 15:45 mark. Zanoguera triggered the quick start with three layups to give the home team a three-possession advantage.
Western Michigan quickly countered with a 13-3 burst to take its first lead in the division matchup, 16-15, with 10:07 left in the opening half. The visitors utilized five points from Woods and four from Alex Morton to silence the UT fans.
The Broncos continued to push the action as the first period wore on, benefitting from consecutive triples by Shipman and Johnson to stretch the margin to 30-24 at the 3:58 mark.
Following the final stoppage of play in the opening 20 minutes, UT reeled off six straight points to knot the score for a second time at 30-30 at the 2:07 mark. Zanoguera scored four of the six points, while Dortch tallied the other two to force WMU into a timeout.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, they were not able to sustain the momentum, as WMU tallied six of the final eight points in the period to take a 36-32 lead into the locker room.
Toledo will look to bounce back against MAC West Division foe Northern Illinois on Thursday, Feb. 27. Tip-off is slated for 11:30 a.m. (CT) in the Convocation Center.
The Rockets downed the Huskies in the first meeting, 73-71, on Thursday, Jan. 9 in Savage Arena and will look to sweep the regular-season series for a third-straight year.