Toledo Women's Basketball Knocks Off Ball State in MAC Opener, 65-58

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Sophomore Nakiah Black scored a season-high 19 points to lead Toledo to a 65-58 victory over Ball State on Saturday in the Mid-American Conference opener for both schools before 3,473 fans in Savage Arena. With the win, the Rockets improve to 9-3 overall, 1-0 in the league.
Black connected on 7-of-13 shots from the field, including a season-best 5-of-7 from three-point range, to surpass her previous-best effort of 18 points against Stony Brook on Dec. 18. Junior Mariella Santucci added 14 points and five assists, including four free throws in the final minute that helped seal the home victory. Senior Kaayla McIntyre also contributed 11 points and eight rebounds to the Rockets' triumph.

In addition, the Midnight Blue & Gold benefited from eight points, seven caroms and a game-tying high five helpers from senior Mikaela Boyd to claim their third win against the Cardinals (5-8, 0-1 MAC) over the last four meetings between the division rivals. Boyd also became the 29th player in school history to surpass the 1,000-career point mark.
As a team, UT shot a respectable 45.8 percent (22-of-48) from the floor, including a season-tying best 50.0 percent (8-of-16) from behind the arc, to snap a three-game losing skid in MAC openers.

Oshylnn Brown paced BSU with 15 points, followed by Maliah Howard-Bass and Jasmin Samz with 12 and 11, respectively.

FIRST QUARTER
• Toledo jumped out to a 12-6 lead on the strength of a 7-0 burst, capped by a three-pointer from Black at the 4:01 mark.

• Ball State trimmed the Rockets' margin to a single point, 14-13, with a 7-2 run to close out the period.

• Boyd cracked the 1,000-career point mark with a free-throw jumper with 4:25 showing on the clock.

SECOND QUARTER
• Toledo stretched its lead to 21-13 on the heels of a 7-0 run to begin the quarter.
• The Rockets later went on a 10-2 burst to push their advantage to 33-20, culminating with a layup by McIntyre with two minutes left in the half.
• Black led the Rockets with eight points in the opening 20 minutes, connecting on 2-of-3 from three-point range.

THIRD QUARTER
• BSU began the second half with a 9-0 burst to tie the score at 33-33, forcing UT head coach Tricia Cullop to call a timeout.
• The Rockets rallied behind three triples from Black during an 11-5 quarter-ending run and give them a 52-42 advantage heading into the final 10 minutes.

FOURTH QUARTER
• Ball State scored the first six points of the final period to cut UT's lead to four points, 52-48, at the 8:34 minute mark.

• Moments later, senior captain Sarah St-Fort made a layup to bring the Rockets' lead back to eight points, 56-48.
• Toledo closed out the game at the stripe, making 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute to complete the seven-point home win.
UP NEXT
• The Rockets will travel to East Division foe Miami (9-3, 0-1 MAC) on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The opening tip against the RedHawks is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in Millett Hall and will be shown on ESPN+.

• UT and MU will square off for the first of two contests this year and 65th time overall. The cross-division rivals will also compete on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7:00 p.m. in Savage Arena.

• The Rockets lead the all-time series, 38-26, winning 11 of the last 12 match-ups since the 2008-09 campaign.

• A season ago, UT dropped a 67-58 road decision against the RedHawks to lose for the first time in the series since March 14, 2008 in the MAC Tournament Semifinals.

• Miami holds a slim 17-14 edge in games played in Millett Hall, but the Midnight Blue & Gold has won five of the last six meetings away from home.