No. 7 seed Toledo sustained a 74-57 loss to No. 6 seed Eastern Michigan Wednesday in the second round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament in Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
With the setback, UT falls to 18-13 on the season.The Rockets now will have to wait until Monday, March 16, to find out if they have been picked to participate in a post-season tournament.
Freshman Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott tied a school-tourney record with seven triples and finished with a career-high 30 points. The 2014-15 MAC Freshman of the Year shot an impressive 7 of 14 from beyond the arc and scored in double figures for the 16th time this year, the second-highest total on the team. Bravo-Harriott equaled the school record held by Jessica Williams, who dropped in seven treys against Ohio in the quarterfinals March 13, 2009.
UT’s next high scorers were senior Inma Zanoguera and sophomore Sophie Reecher with eight points each. Reecher just missed a double-double, as she pulled down a collegiate-best 16 boards.
Toledo was held in check offensively all afternoon and limited to 28.6 percent (20 of 70) from the field, including 28.1 percent (9 of 32) from three-point range, to bow out of the tourney against the Eagles (20-11) for the second time in the last four years.
Cha Sweeney led Eastern Michigan with 29 points, followed by Janay Morton with 19 and Briana Puni with 10.
EMU, which never trailed in the contest, hit five of its first 10 shots and jumped out to a 12-3 lead, forcing Toledo into a timeout with 15:20 left in the first half. The duo of Morton and Sweeney sparked the strong start with a pair of treys.
The Rockets struggled to put the ball in the basket as the first half wore on and trailed 16-6 at the 11:40 mark. UT missed 14 of its first 16 field-goal attempts and as a result found itself down 10 points nearing the midway point of the opening stanza.
UT’s Bravo-Harriott then started to heat up and buried five three-point field goals in a span of 10-plus minutes to trim the deficit to 21-18 with 8:51 remaining in the half.
Toledo fed off Bravo-Harriott’s hot shooting and put together a mini 10-4 burst to close the margin to 29-28, prompting EMU into calling a timeout at the 1:23 mark. The big shot in the rally was a four-point play from junior Ana Capotosto.
Unfortunately for the Midnight Blue and Gold, the stoppage cooled off the Rockets and allowed EMU to score the final four points and take a 33-28 lead at the intermission.
Eastern Michigan’s Sweeney came out red-hot shooting the ball to start the second half and scored 12 of her team’s first 14 points to extend the lead to 47-36 at the 15:08 mark. The Toledo native hit four shots from the field in the opening four-plus minutes, including back-to-back triples, to force Toledo into calling another timeout.
The Rockets continued to play from behind but stayed within striking distance on the strength of back-to-back three pointers from Bravo-Harriott to make the score 59-48 with 7:24 left in regulation.
Toledo could not pull any closer, though, as Sweeney and the Eagles were too much to handle in the second round of this year’s post-season event.
Eastern Michigan shot an impressive 45.9 percent (28 of 61) from the field and will play No. 3 seed Akron in the third round Thursday, March 12, at 2:30 p.m.