Toledo women upset top-seeded Central Michigan in MAC tourney

CLEVELAND (WTVG) - Five Toledo players reached double figures and the Rockets women's basketball team pulled off a huge upset, taking out top-seeded Central Michigan 78-71 in the MAC Tournament quarterfinals Wednesday.

The No. 9-seeded Rockets will face No. 4 Ohio at 11 a.m. Friday.

Junior Tanaya Beacham led a season-tying best five Rockets in double figures with 14 points, followed closely by classmate Nakiah Black (12). Senior Sara Rokkanen, junior Tatyana Davis and freshman Quinesha Lockett chipped in with 11 points each.

Toledo (14-17) also benefited from eight points, a team-high eight rebounds, a game-best seven assists and three steals from senior Mariella Santucci to advance to the MAC's 'Final Four' for the seventh time in 12 years under head coach Tricia Cullop.

"I'm extremely proud of our team," Cullop said in a press release. "We've been through a lot with some injuries and obstacles in the middle of the season and I feel like we were starting to catch our stride and play some of our best basketball at the end. I was really hoping that we could catch some momentum and kind of ride that wave here at the end and that's kind of come to fruition."

CMU held a 44-39 lead after Molly Davis knocked down a 3-pointer with 8 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the third quarter, but the Chippewas would not score again until MAC Player of the Year Micaela Kelly converted a trey with 9:27 left in regulation.

The Rockets held CMU (23-7) scoreless for the final eight-plus minutes in the third quarter, forcing the Chippewas to miss 12 of their 14 shots in the period and shoot a frigid 14.3 percent from the field. Toledo outscored the MAC regular-season champion 20-5 in the period to take a 54-44 lead into the final 10 minutes of play.

Kyra Bussell paced Central Michigan with a game-high 23 points, including 21 in the first half, while Kelly came in with 21.