Toledo Squares Off Against MAC West Division Foe Northern Illino - Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

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Toledo Squares Off Against MAC West Division Foe Northern Illinois in Weekday Matinee

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Toledo (13-12, 8-6 MAC) will look to rebound from its first loss in over three weeks when the Midnight Blue & Gold take on Northern Illinois (8-16, 4-10 MAC) on Thursday, Feb. 27 in the Convocation Center. Tipoff is set for 11:30 a.m. (CT).


      In conjunction with Thursday's matchup against the Huskies, NIU is holding "Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day."


      The Rockets are currently in second place in the West Division standings behind 2013-14 division champion Central Michigan (17-9, 13-1 MAC), while the Huskies are in sixth place.


      If the regular season ended today, UT would be the No. 5 seed in the MAC Tournament and host No. 12 seed Kent State in the first round.


      UT is coming off a heartbreaking 60-59 setback to Western Michigan on Sunday, Feb. 23 at home, snapping its season-best four-game win streak.


      Senior Andola Dortch paced UT with 18 points and six assists against the Broncos (11-14, 7-7 MAC). 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 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. The Broncos swept the regular-season series for the Rockets for the first time since 2005-06.


      Despite all their shooting woes throughout the course of the game, the Rockets had a chance to win the division matchup or at least force overtime in the waning seconds of regulation.


      UT had the ball under its basket with 7.3 seconds left, but sophomore Ana Capotosto's three-point attempt was off target as the final seconds ticked off the clock.


      Toledo, which sports a 7-5 record at  home this season, is fueled offensively by the quartet of Zanoguera, Dortch, Capotosto and Jones, who are averaging 14.5, 12.3, 10.7 and 10.6 ppg, respectively.


      UT will take on a Northern Illinois squad in the midst of a six-game losing skid, most recently suffering an 85-77 setback against the Chippewas on Saturday at home. All-MAC candidate Amanda Corral led five NIU players in double figures with 23 points, while Jasmine Harris had 14 and the trio of Jenna Thorp, Natecia Augusta and Ashley Sneed had 12 points each.


      Northern Illinois takes advantage of an offensive attack with three players averaging at least 9.5 ppg, led by Corral's 14.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 2.2 apg. The Huskies are 5-6 at home in 2013-14.


      UT and NIU will meet for the second time this season and 45th time overall. The Rockets downed the Huskies in the first meeting, 73-71, in the first meeting on Thursday, Jan. 9 in Savage Arena.


      Toledo leads the all-time series, 28-16, winning the last six games.


      The Huskies own an 11-9 advantage in contests played in the Convocation Center, but the Rockets have won the last two meetings in DeKalb. UT most recently claimed a 44-42 triumph on NIU's home court last season (Jan. 26, 2013).      


          Following Thursday's matinee, Toledo will host 2013-14 MAC West Division champion Central Michigan on Sunday, March 2. Tip-off is slated for 2:00 p.m. in Savage Arena  and will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.