UT women score crucial win; BG falls in overtime

(WTVG) - The Toledo women's basketball team played its most complete game of the season, claiming an impressive 71-59 victory against Buffalo in Wednesday's Mid-American Conference home opener before 3,217 fans in Savage Arena.

With the double-digit win, the Rockets improve to 6-7 overall, 1-1 in the league.

The Rockets led wire-to-wire to snap the Bulls' (10-3, 1-1 MAC) seven-game winning streak.

Junior Tanaya Beacham paced Toledo with 17 points off the bench, scoring in double figures for a second straight game. Beacham knocked down an efficient 7-of-12 shots from the field and 3-of-6 from the charity stripe in 26 minutes.

Freshman Quinesha Lockett added 13 points, a season-high seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Toledo also received eight points from junior Nakiah Black and seven each from senior Mariella Santucci, junior Tatyana Davis and freshman Sophia Wiard to stretch its home winning streak to three consecutive contests.

As a team, the Rockets shot 36.9 percent (24-of-65) from the floor, including a respectable 39.1 percent (9-of-23) from beyond the arc, and 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from the free throw line to run their record to 12-1 all-time against UB at home.

Toledo also did a fantastic job taking care of the basketball against the athletic Bulls, finishing with 15 assists, compared to only 13 turnovers. Santucci spearheaded Toledo's offensive execution with a contest-best five helpers.

Three-time MAC East Division Player of the Week Dyaisha Fair led Buffalo with 17 points, followed by Theresa Onwuka with 14. However, the Rockets held Fair to just 4-of-18 from the field.

UB overall was limited to 35.1 percent (20-of-57) from the field, including 27.8 percent (5-of-18) from 3-point land, en route to posting its second-lowest scoring output this season. The visitors came into tonight's MAC cross-division matchup ranked fourth in the league in scoring offense (71.7 ppg), fifth in overall field-goal percentage (.408) and seventh in three-point field-goal percentage (.309).

• Toledo started out like gangbusters and led 24-7 after the opening 10 minutes.

• Senior Sara Rokkanen and Lockett sparked the Rockets' explosive start, combining for four triples and 14 points. Each player knocked down a pair of three-pointers at the outset, helping the home team establish a commanding 17-point lead.

• As good as the Rockets were offensively in the opening stanza, they were even better defensively. They held the MAC East Division co-leading Bulls to one field goal and a mere 7.1 percent (1-of-14) from the field.

• Toledo continued to play with the lead, benefiting from a traditional three-point play by Beacham and a trey from Wiard to extend their advantage to 19 points, 33-14, at the 4:47 mark.

• Moments later, freshman Soleil Barnes and Davis buried back-to-back three-point field goals to make the score 42-26 at the intermission.

• Lockett paced the Rockets with 10 points in the opening 20 minutes, while Fair led the Bulls with a game-high 12.

• The Bulls utilized a 14-3 run midway through the period to trim the margin to seven points, but Beacham responded with consecutive layups to set Toledo's lead at 54-43 heading into the final period.

• Onwuka and Walters triggered UB's burst with five points each in the quarter.

• Buffalo made one final push in the fourth period and pulled with six points, 61-55, but once again Toledo had an answer, receiving a trio of layups by Beacham to extend its margin back to double digits.

• The Rockets then closed out the impressive home victory with six free throws in the waning moments of regulation.

• Toledo will travel to MAC West Division rival Northern Illinois (4-9, 0-2 MAC) on Saturday, Jan. 11. The MAC West Division showdown is slated for 1:00 p.m. (CT) in the Convocation Center and will be televised on ESPN3.
BGSU women fall in overtime

The Ball State and Bowling Green women's basketball teams battled through 45 minutes Wednesday night but the Cardinals came away with an 86-80 overtime victory in Mid-American Conference basketball action. Neither team led by more than seven points during the entirety of the contest.

Ball State led 18-16 after one period and extended the lead to six at the half, but the Falcons battled back to tie the score at the end of three. Trailing by four with 37 seconds left, BGSU got a banked-in three-pointer from Mari Hill and a traditional three-point play by Madisen Parker with five seconds left to force overtime.

Parker had a team-high 23 points for the Falcons, with 22 of those points coming after halftime. Entering the game as the nation's leader in three-point percentage, she went 5-of-12 from long range, including 5-of-8 after the first 20 minutes.

With the win, Ball State improves to 10-4 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Bowling Green falls to 7-7 overall and 0-2 in league play.

• Bowling Green had six steals on six Ball State turnovers, three from Kadie Hempfling, to overcome a poor shooting quarter and stay within striking distance, down 18-16.
• The lead changed five times and there were two ties during the first 10 minutes.
• Hempfling led the Falcons with six points in the frame.

• Ball State used a 9-2 run midway through the second quarter to build a 31-24 lead but BGSU answered with an 8-2 run capped off by a Mari Hill jumper.
• The swings continued, however, as Ball State scored the next six points and took a 39-33 lead into the break.

• BGSU began to come alive from long range, making 5-of-10 three-pointers to outscore Ball State 21-15 in the period and tie the game.
• Down 42-35, the Falcons got three-pointers from Caterrion Thompson and Parker to get back within one.
• BGSU took a 49-48 lead on a Hill fastbreak lay-up with 5:08 left in the frame and the lead teetered back and forth until a Parker three-ball tied it at 54-54 headed to the fourth.

• Bowling Green led 70-69 with 1:46 to play but Ball State got a three-pointer and a lay-up to go ahead 74-70 with 37 seconds left.
• The Falcons rushed the ball up the floor and Hill banked home a three-pointer with 31 seconds left.
• BGSU fouled Jasmin Samz and she made both free-throws with 21 seconds to play.
• With time winding down, Parker drove the line and threw up an off-balanced lay-up while getting fouled. The ball bounced in and she completed the scoring with a free-throw to tie the game.
• Samz missed a three-pointer at the buzzer that forced overtime.

• Bowling Green missed its first four shots of the overtime session but neither team scored until Ball State broke the drought with a lay-up with 2:39 to go.
• Trailing by four with less than 90 seconds to go, Parker knocked down her fifth three-pointer to bring the Falcons to within one at 81-80 with 1:26 left.
• Bowling Green, however, would not score again and Ball State closed the session with five consecutive points to earn the win.

• BGSU was outrebounded 12-7 in the quarter but that script got flipped after that point as the Falcons held a commanding 32-13 edge on the boards in the middle two periods.
• Hempfling finished the game with 11 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
• Hill had 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and four steals.
• Thompson added 11 points for BGSU.
• Bowling Green held a 47-37 lead in rebounding, including a dominant 17-4 edge on the offensive glass.
• BGSU turned the ball over 16 times, but forced 20 Ball State turnovers.
• With the rebounding and turnover advantage, the Falcons attempted 16 more shots than Ball State. The Cardinals did get to the line eight more times than BGSU but were just 12-of-21.

• Bowling Green will host Akron Saturday at 2:00 pm for Alumnae Day.
• Following that contest, the Falcons will head on the road for back-to-back games at Buffalo (Jan. 15) and at rival Toledo (Jan. 18).