Toledo wrapped up its regular season with a 78-45 setback at Central Michigan Saturday in McGuirk Arena in Mount Pleasant.
With the loss, the Rockets fall to 19-10 overall, 11-7 in the Mid-American Conference.Toledo will be the No. 6 seed in the MAC Tournament and host No. 11 seed Ball State (8-22, 3-15 MAC) in the first round Monday, March 11, at 7 p.m. in Savage Arena.
The opening-round contest between UT and BSU will be shown on ESPN-Plus.
At Central Michigan, senior Kaayla McIntyre paced Toledo with eight points, followed closely by junior Mariella Santucci with seven. The trifecta of senior Sarah St-Fort, sophomore Tanaya Beacham and sophomore Nakiah Black added seven points each. McIntyre was held to less than 10 points for the first time in the last 42 games.
As a team, the Rockets shot 32.2 percent (19 of 59) from the field, including 36.4 percent (4 of 11) from three-point land, and 60.0 percent (3 of 5) from the free-throw line.
CMU’s three-headed monster of Reyna Frost, Presley Hudson and Mikaela Kelly accounted for 74 of its team’s 78 points.
The Rockets trailed by only six points, 33-27, at the intermission, before the Chippewas outscored the visitors 45-18 in the second half to secure the outright MAC regular-season title.
“I was really proud of our effort in the second period,” Toledo Head Coach Tricia Cullop said. “I thought we were going to make a game of it. Unfortunately for us, that was not the case. We just didn’t have an answer for them in the second half.”
Cullop and the Rockets will prepare to meet Ball State for the third time this year and 82nd time overall. The Rockets swept the regular-season series against the Cardinals, claiming a 65-58 home victory (Jan. 5) and a 63-62 road triumph (Feb. 23).
Toledo leads the all-time series, 56-25, and has won four of the last five meetings against its division foe. The Rockets also hold a 29-9 advantage in games played in Savage Arena.
The division rivals also have squared off on five occasions in the post-season tourney, with Toledo holding a 5-0 record. Most recently, UT registered a 67-56 neutral-court triumph in the quarterfinals of the 2010 MAC Tournament in Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
MAC Tournament tickets can be purchased online at the Toledo Rockets’ website, by calling 419.530.GOLD (4653) or by visiting the ticket office in Savage Arena.