No. 6 seed Toledo (19-9) will open the 2019 Mid-American Conference Tournament Monday, March 11, with a first-round contest against No. 11 seed Ball State (8-22).
The opening tip from Savage Arena is slated for 7 p.m. and will be shown on ESPN-Plus.Toledo finished the 2018-19 conference campaign second in the West Division standings, while BSU placed sixth.
The division rivals have squared off on five occasions in the post-season tourney, with Toledo holding a 5-0 record. Most recently, Toledo registered a 67-56 neutral-court triumph in the quarterfinals of the 2010 MAC Tournament in Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland (March 10).
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 rival. The Rockets also hold a 29-9 advantage in games played in Savage Arena.
Toledo, which is 11-3 at home this year, is coming off a 78-45 road setback at MAC regular-season champion Central Michigan (24-6) Saturday to snap its season-tying best four-game winning streak.
The Rockets trailed the Chippewas by only six points at the intermission, 33-27, but they were outscored 45-18 in the second half.
Senior Kaayla McIntyre paced Toledo with eight points vs. CMU, followed closely by junior Mariella Santucci with seven. The trifecta of senior Sarah St-Fort, sophomore Tanaya Beacham and sophomore Nakiah Black added six points each.
CMU’s Reyna Frost, Presley Hudson and Mikaela Kelly accounted for 74 of its team’s 78 points.
Toledo continues to be fueled offensively by the quartet of McIntyre, Black, senior Mikaela Boyd and Santucci, who are averaging 16.3, 10.5, 9.7 and 9.3 points per game, respectively. This quartet accounts for 69.4 percent (1,317 of 1,898) of Toledo’s scoring.
The Rockets will battle a Ball State squad that has dropped 11 of its last 12 games. Most recently, the Cardinals suffered a 67-57 home loss vs. Eastern Michigan (13-16) Saturday.
The Cardinals were outscored 50-31 by the Eagles after the intermission to lose their home finale. Maliah Howard-Bass led BSU with 18 points, followed by Thelma Dis Agustsdottir with 12. Leading scorer Oshlynn Brown was limited to four points, but the All-MAC candidate finished with a game-high 14 boards.
BSU, which is 2-13 away from home, features three players scoring in double figures led by Brown’s 12.7 points per game, 9.4 rebounds per game, 0.8 blocks per game and 1.2 steals per game.
The winner of Monday’s contest will meet No. 3 seed Miami (22-7) in the quarterfinals Wednesday, March 13, at approximately 7:30 p.m. 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.