Huge Second Half Propels Toledo Women's Basketball to 79-65 Win at Arch-Rival Bowling Green

By  | 

Toledo outscored arch-rival Bowling Green 46-24 in the second half en route to claiming a 79-65 victory on Saturday in the Stroh Center. With the double-digit road triumph, the Rockets improve to 11-5 overall, 3-2 in the Mid-American Conference.

UT trailed BGSU 41-33 at the intermission before putting forth a dominant second-half performance to secure its sixth-straight win in the series. The Midnight Blue & Gold shot 51.7 percent (15-of-29) from the floor and 81.2 percent (13-of-16) from the free throw line over the final 20 minutes to erase the eight-point halftime deficit.

"We knew this wasn't going to be an easy game," said Head Coach Tricia Cullop, who improved to 10-4 all-time against BGSU. "I thought we were more patient offensively and just all-around better defensively in the second half. In the first half, we were impatient at both ends of the floor, and as a result, we found ourselves down at the break."

Senior Mikaela Boyd paced a balanced UT attack with a season-high 25 points, including 19 in the pivotal second half. Boyd broke out of a scoring slump in a big way against BGSU, as she had a combined 25 points over the previous four contests.

Sophomore Nakiah Black added 16 points, senior Kaayla McIntyre had 15 and junior Mariella Santucci chipped in 13 to help Toledo top the 75-point plateau for a second-straight game and sixth time this year.

For the contest, the Rockets shot 45.2 percent (28-of-62) from the field, including 36.8 percent (7-of-19) from three-point land, and a season-high 84.2 percent (-of-) from the charity stripe.

UT also dominated the glass, 42-26, highlighted by a game-high 10 boards by McIntyre to give the local product her second-consecutive double-double, third on the year, and 12th as a Rocket.

Boyd and McIntyre's strong play inside helped the visitors post a commanding 40-28 edge in points in the paint.

Angela Perry led Bowling Green (7-9, 0-5 MAC) with 18 points off the bench, but the second-year post player had a mere six after halftime. Morgan McMillen was the only other Falcon in double figures in the "Battle of I-75", finishing with 14 points as a reserve.

Toledo kept all five BGSU starters out of double digits, marking the first time it had accomplished that feat since March 6, 2017 against Akron in the first round of the MAC Tournament.

FIRST QUARTER
• The Falcons ended the quarter on a 13-3 run to create a 24-16 lead after the opening 10 minutes. Three different BGSU players knocked down triples over the course of the final three-plus minutes to give the home team an early eight-point cushion.

SECOND QUARTER
• Toledo cut the deficit to three late in the period, 36-33, on the strength of three-point field goals from sophomore Mariah Copeland and Santucci at the 1:50 mark.

• Unfortunately for the Rockets, Copeland's points would be their last, as BGSU registered the final five of the half to make their deficit 41-33 at the intermission.

• Black paced the Midnight Blue & Gold with 10 points in the first 20 minutes, while Perry led the home team with a game-high 12.

THIRD QUARTER
• UT began the third stanza with a pivotal 13-2 burst to take a 47-43 lead at the 5:54 mark. McIntyre sparked the crucial opening run with six points, while Boyd and Santucci had three each to force the Falcons to burn a timeout. It proved to be an advantage the Rockets would not give

• Toledo continued to play at a high level for the remainder of the period, outscoring the Falcons, 23-10, to assume a 56-51 advantage heading into the final quarter. UT received big-time treys from sophomore Tatyana Davis and Santucci in the late stages of the quarter to create a two-possession game.

FOURTH QUARTER
• Boyd put Toledo on her shoulders in the final period, scoring 12 of the team's 23 points to make the final score, 79-65. The two-time All-MAC honoree was credited with six field goals and two free throws in the quarter to close out the impressive double-digit road triumph.

"Mikaela demanded the ball in the fourth quarter, and she hit some big shots," Cullop said. "She played with such great poise today."

UP NEXT
• The Rockets will host MAC West Division frontrunner Central Michigan (13-4, 4-1 MAC) on Wednesday, Jan. 23. The opening tip against the 2018 MAC champion Chippewas is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in Savage Arena and will be shown on ESPN+.

• UT and CMU will square off for the first of two match-ups during the regular season and 82nd time overall. Toledo will travel to Mount Pleasant on Saturday, March 9 at 1:00 p.m. in McGuirk Arena.

• Toledo leads the all-time series, 48-33, but they have lost the last three match-ups against their division rival. UT also holds a 27-12 advantage in games played in Savage Arena.