Women Beat Kent State, 68-58, to Battle Bowling Green for MAC Championship

March 10, 2023 | Athletics, News, UToday, Advancement, Alumni
By Chris Cullum

Senior guards Jayda Jansen and Sophia Wiard scored 16 points each to lead No. 1 seed Toledo to a 68-58 victory over No. 4 seed Kent State in MAC Tournament semifinal action at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland on Friday.

Toledo (27-4), which won its 15th consecutive game, will now battle No. 2 Bowling Green in the championship game Saturday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. Tipoff is set for 11 a.m. on CBS Sports Network. It will be the Rockets’ first trip to the tournament finals since they won the championship in 2017.

Toledo won its 15th consecutive game and now advances to the MAC Championship Game on Saturday at 11 a.m. against Bowling Green on CBS Sports Network.

“It feels good. We know what we’re here to do,” said Jansen, who connected on 6-of-7 shots from the floor, including 2-of-2 from three-point range. “The job is not finished, clearly.”

“We’re one game away from what we really want,” said Head Coach Tricia Cullop.

Toledo had a tough battle throughout most of the game but outscored the Golden Flashes 12-5 in the final five minutes to seal the victory.

The Rockets were aided by a smothering defense that held Kent State to just 21-of-60 (35.0%) from the field and outrebounded the Golden Flashes 40-30. Senior forward Sammi Mikonowicz dominated the boards, collecting 15 rebounds (14 on the defensive end) to go with her 12 points, her fifth double-double of the year.

“We knew this would be a tough game,” Cullop said. “Kent State is very skilled. They can really shoot the ball. We knew it would take a phenomenal defensive effort. I thought we did a great job of taking away some of their opportunities and securing the rebounds.

“Sammi was phenomenal on the boards today and I thought Jayda gave us some big minutes as well. But really, our whole team was locked in today.”

Toledo led 17-7 at the end of the first quarter but Kent State (21-10) outscored the Rockets 20-11 in the second quarter to pull to within two at halftime, 28-27.

The Golden Flashes briefly took the lead in the third quarter, but Toledo ended the period on a 16-8 run to lead by six going into the final frame. KSU closed the margin to three points, 56-53, with less than five minutes to play but the Rockets outplayed the Flashes down the stretch to put themselves one game away from a MAC title.

“Forty minutes. We’re 40 minutes from what we want,” Mikonowicz said. “We just need to play our hardest. I don’t think our mindset changes. Just keep playing basketball, just keep playing hard.”


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