Women's Basketball Falls to Tough Toledo Squad, 65-54
Miracle Woods scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead Western Michigan. Marquisha Harris met her MAC scoring average with 12 points and had five rebounds. Freshman Alex Morton played 38 minutes and finished with eight points.
"There was definitely a different vibe after today's loss than Thursday's to Ball State (a 23-point loss)," said WMU head coach Shane Clipfell. "We said that's not going to happen on our watch and the team responded and really fought today. There's all kind of factors that go into that, but the bottom line is, this is a really young team that at times can be fragile.
"If we would have rebounded a little better and made some free throws, who knows what could have happened today."
The Broncos used a different starting look at Toledo, starting two freshmen and three sophomores. Morton and A.J. Johnson filled in at the guards and Harris, Woods and Michelle O'Brien as the forwards.
The combination seemed to pay off and the Broncos got off to one of their better starts. Toledo also missed six of its first seven shots of the game, and Western Michigan led 16-10 at the 9:14 mark of the first half.
From there, things didn't go quite as WMU had hoped. The Broncos wouldn't score again until Woods made one of two free throws at 2:38 and WMU only made one field goal the rest of the half, a three-pointer by Julia Henson in the final minute. The result was a 21-4 run by Toledo and the Rockets led by 11 at halftime, 31-20.
Rebounding was a major factor in the first half, going in UT's favor. Toledo pulled down 27 rebounds, 12 of those offensive. WMU managed just 15 boards and only three offensive. Despite the discrepancy, the Rockets only scored seven second-chance points in the first half.
The Broncos came out with a little fire in the second half, scoring eight of the first 12 points. The Brown & Gold even whittled the deficit down to six, 39-33, with 14:31 left to play. Toledo regrouped and pushed its lead back up to double digits, where it would remain most of the rest of the game. Both WMU and Toledo scored 34 points in the second half, and WMU fell by an 11-point final.
Andola Dortch paced Toledo with a game-high 18 points, scoring 13 in the second half, and had seven rebounds. After sitting last year with a knee injury, First Team All-MAC selection Naama Shafir was back to her old self, totaling 14 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Shafir broke UT's all-time career assist record last game against Ohio.
UT (19-2, 7-1 MAC) held the final count on the boards, 42-32, and 17-6 on the offensive end.
WMU shot 57.7 percent in the second half and 43.1 percent for the game. The Rockets were 40 percent from the field and 12-for-16 from the charity stripe. The Broncos went 8-for-14 at the free throw line.
Western Michigan (6-15, 2-6 MAC) travels to MAC East opponent Kent State Wednesday and returns to Kalamazoo to host Bowling Green Feb. 10. Kent State played at Ohio Saturday, with both teams looking for their first conference win.