Toledo dropped a 69-56 decision at Ball State in Saturday's Mid-American Conference regular-season finale in Worthen Arena. With the loss, the Rockets fall to 14-15 overall, 9-9 in the league.
UT will now be the No. 6 seed in next week's MAC Tournament and host No. 11 seed Ohio (9-20, 4-14 MAC) on Monday, March 10 at 7:00 p.m. in Savage Arena.
Senior Andola Dortch paced Toledo with 14 points and six assists against the Cardinals (14-15, 9-9 MAC), followed by junior Inma Zanoguera with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds and senior Brianna Jones had 10 points and 10 caroms.
Nathalie Fontaine led the victors with a game-high 26 points, including 22 in the second half, and Shelbie Justice poured in 14 points to snap a nine-game losing skid against their division rivals.
After the teams traded baskets at the outset, BSU received a pair of triples from Justice to claim a 10-5 lead, forcing UT into a timeout at the 14:10 mark. It proved to be an advantage the home squad would not surrender.
Moments later, the Cardinals' benefitted from consecutive layups from Renee Bennett to extend the margin to 18-10, prompting the Midnight Blue & Gold to take another timeout with 9:38 left in first half.
The Rockets could not buy a basket in the opening 20 minutes and found themselves behind 27-15 at the intermission. UT did not score the final 7:03 and posted its fewest point total in a period this season, surpassing its previous low mark of 15 at Buffalo during the first half on Jan. 15.
UT's deficit continued to grow in the opening moments of the second stanza, as BSU's Fontaine scored her team's first nine points to stretch the margin to 38-21 with 15:06 left in regulation.
The Rockets then flipped a switch offensively and utilized a 12-4 run to close the gap to 42-33 at the 12:03 mark. UT received treys from junior Stephanie Recker and sophomore Ana Capotosto to spark the burst, while Zanoguera and Jones also contributed field goals to force BSU into a timeout.
Toledo continued to chip away and strung together a 9-1 run to pull within three points, 50-47, with 6:38 showing on the clock. UT received four points from Dortch, three from Zanoguera and two from senior Brianna Jones to make it a one-possession contest.
The Rockets would not go quietly and momentarily cut the margin to two points, 55-53, before BSU responded with a 14-2 run to close out the home victory. BSU scored 12 of the 14 points at the charity stripe to wrap up the No. 5 seed for the MAC Tournament.