Top seed Toledo toppled by Eastern Michigan

March 11, 2011 | News, UToday
By Brian DeBenedictis

Senior forward Melissa Goodall scored 18 points for the Rockets.

Senior forward Melissa Goodall scored 18 points for the Rockets.

Cold shooting and a swarming Eastern Michigan defense spelled doom for No. 1 seeded Toledo, as the Rockets fell to No. 5 seed Eastern Michigan, 61-55, in semifinal action of the Mid-American Conference Tournament on Friday at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Rockets shot 37.9 percent from the floor and committed 22 turnovers.

Senior forward Melissa Goodall led UT with 18 points, but she was the only Rocket in double figures. EMU was led by Cassie Schrock’s 20 points.

After trailing by as many as 13 points, Toledo rallied to cut the lead to three, 58-55, on a three-pointer by Goodall with 28 seconds left. But Toledo’s fate was sealed when Schrock made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left and junior Naama Shafir missed on a driving layup with 12 ticks left.

EMU led at halftime, 27-19, controlling the action throughout the first half behind a swarming zone defense that the Rockets had trouble solving. The Eagles jumped out to an early 13-4 lead and pushed that out to as much as 27-14 before the Rockets trimmed the lead to eight at the half. 

Toledo was hurt by 16 first-half turnovers and cold shooting, hitting just 9 of 26 shots from the floor in the first 20 minutes. EMU’s Paige Redditt had 10 of her 18 points in the first half, hitting 4 of 4 from the floor and 2 of 2 from the line.

The Eagles kept up the pressure early in the second half as Schrock hit a layup and a pair of free throws to put EMU up, 31-20.

EMU maintained its lead in the 10-point range until midway through the second half when UT began to fight back. Sophomore Yolanda Richardson’s layup with 9:09 cut the lead to four, 44-40, with 9:09 to play.

The Rockets could get no closer than four points the rest of the way until Goodall’s late jumper.

The Rockets (23-8) will have to wait until Monday to see if they will receive an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament. If not, the regular-season MAC champs are guaranteed a spot in the WNIT.

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