Toledo dominated all facets of Saturday’s championship and registered a 73-61 victory over Nevada in the finals of the John Ascuaga’s Nugget Classic in the Lawlor Events Center in Reno.With the win, the Rockets improve to 4-1 on the season.
UT shot an impressive 44.4 percent (28 of 63) from the field, including 40.9 percent (9 of 22) from beyond the arc and 66.7 percent (8 of 12) from the charity stripe to claim its sixth tourney title in school history and third under fifth-year Head Coach Tricia Cullop.
Tonight’s victory also was Cullop’s 100th in her Toledo career, joining Bill Fennelly and Mark Ehlen as the only coaches in school history to record triple-digit wins.
Junior Janelle Reed-Lewis led three Rockets in double figures in the championship contest with a career-high 15 points. Reed-Lewis knocked down a sizzling 60.0 percent (6 of 10) from the floor; this included three of five shots from three-point range to score in double figures for the second time this season.
Joining Reed-Lewis in double digits was senior Naama Shafir with 11 points and sophomore Inma Zanoguera with 10. Shafir added a game-high seven assists and three steals en route to being named tourney MVP. The Hoshaya, Israel, native averaged 11.0 points per game, 6.0 assists per game, 4.0 rebounds per game and 2.5 steals per game in the two contests.
UT also received outstanding efforts from senior Yolanda Richardson and junior Andola Dortch with eight points each to extend its win streak to three-straight contests.
For a second-consecutive game, the Rockets did not trail and raced out to a 10-4 lead at the 16:13 mark behind six early points from Richardson. The Toledo native converted a pair of layups and knocked down both of her free throws in the opening three-plus minutes.
Moments later, UT took advantage of a 15-1 burst to open up a 25-7 advantage at the 11:22 mark. Reed-Lewis sparked the burst with seven points off the bench, while senior Riley McCormick and all-tournament team member Dortch each hit triples to establish a double-digit cushion.
Toledo continued to pour it on as the first half wore on with back-to-back treys from senior Kyle Baumgartner and Reed-Lewis extended the cushion to 38-16 at 4:20.
UT’s advantage remained at least 20 points for the remainder of the half, as the midnight blue and gold took a 46-24 lead into the intermission.
Toledo then put the game away with a mini 10-3 flurry to begin the second half, setting the difference at 56-27 with 16:43 left in regulation.
The Rockets put it in cruise control from there and removed a majority of their starters for the final 10 minutes, coasting to the impressive 12-point road triumph.
Danika Sharp paced the Wolf Pack (3-2) with 12 points in a losing effort.
Nevada was limited to 32.8 percent (19 of 58) from the field, with 16.7 percent (2 of 12) from three-point range and 70.0 percent (21 of 30) from the charity stripe.
The Rockets will return home to host the inaugural Glass City Tournament Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2, in Savage Arena. UT will entertain Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the first round of the two-game tourney at 2:30 p.m. The other opening-round matchup pits Southern against 2012 NCAA Tournament participant St. Bonaventure at noon.