Senior center Kaayla McIntyre scored 19 points and sophomore guard Nakiah Black added 16 as No. 6 seed Toledo defeated No. 11 seed Ball State, 67-63, in first-round action of the Mid-American Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament at Savage Arena on Monday night.
Toledo (20-10) advances to play No. 3 seed Miami (22-7) in quarterfinal action Wednesday, March 13, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.The Rockets built an early lead over Ball State (8-23) and then fought off a late Cardinal rally. Black nailed four of five shots for nine points in the first half as Toledo jumped out to a 21-8 first-quarter lead. UT pushed the lead up to 14 points in the second quarter before settling on a 33-23 margin at halftime.
Ball State hung around in the second half, before pulling to within two points, 59-57, with a little more than a minute remaining. Black scored seven points in the final minute to clinch the victory and help Toledo advance to the next round.
Toledo shot the ball well, hitting 25 of 54 (46.3 percent) from the field. The Rockets were out-rebounded, 35-31, but held the Cardinals to just 23 of 58 (39.7 percent) shooting.
Junior guard Mariella Santucci had a big night for the Rockets, scoring 12 points, grabbing seven rebounds, and handing out six assists while committing just two turnovers.
Toledo and Miami will meet Wednesday in the fourth and final game, which will take place 30 minutes following the third game, approximately 7 p.m.
Miami defeated Toledo twice during the regular season, 65-64 in Oxford Jan. 9 and 65-56 in Toledo Feb. 20.
The winner of the Toledo-Miami game will play in the semifinals Friday, March 15, at approximately 1:15 p.m. The championship game will be played Saturday, March 16, at 11 a.m. on the CBS Sports Network.
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. Only tickets purchased through the University will be in the Rocket section of Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.