Reigning WNIT Champions to entertain Detroit in first-round action

March 15, 2012 | News, UToday
By Brian DeBenedictis

Senior Haylie Linn will play again in Savage Arena as the Rockets take on Detroit in a first-round WNIT game Friday, March 16, at 7 p.m.

Toledo (21-9, 13-3 Mid-American Conference) will begin defense of its Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) Championship against Horizon League member Detroit (20-13, 14-4 Horizon) in a first-round match-up Friday, March 16, in Savage Arena. Tip-off time is slated for 7 p.m.

The winner of tomorrow’s game will take on the winner of the Cincinnati (15-15, 6-10 Big East)-Duquesne (20-11, 7-7 Atlantic 10) contest Saturday-Monday, March 17-19. Sites and times for the second round will be released at a later date.

The Rockets, who are one of 33 at-large teams in this year’s field, will be appearing in the WNIT for the third time in as many seasons under Head Coach Tricia Cullop and eighth time overall.

Last season, the Rockets became the first MAC basketball program to capture a national postseason tournament. UT’s historic WNIT run was capped off by a 76-68 triumph over USC in the championship game before a national television audience and league women’s basketball record 7,301 fans. Toledo’s victims en route to its postseason title were Colonial Athletic Association member Delaware, SEC member Auburn, SEC member Alabama, Big East member Syracuse and Atlantic 10 member Charlotte.

Toledo also became only the second school since the WNIT resurrected in 1998 as a single-elimination tournament to host every game en route to a championship. Wyoming claimed the WNIT title in 2007 with six home victories.

All-league performers sophomore Andola Dortch, senior Courtney Ingersoll and junior Yolanda Richardson lead Toledo offensively, scoring 13.2, 11.3 and 10.2 points per game, respectively. Dortch and Richardson were second-team All-MAC selections, while Ingersoll earned third-team all-league accolades. In addition, Dortch was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year.

Tomorrow’s game against Detroit means another chance for the Rockets and their two seniors, Haylie Linn and Ingersoll, to play in Savage Arena. The duo has helped UT post an impressive 54-7 (.885) mark at home over the last three-plus seasons.

The Titans, who advanced to the Horizon League Tournament Championship Game for the sixth time in school history, feature an offense led by first-team all-conference selection Shareta Brown’s 17.7 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game.

Detroit is 9-10 away from home this season and has won 11 of its last 13 games overall under Head Coach Autumn Rademacher.

UT and Detroit will be meeting for the first time in the postseason and 25th time overall. UT leads the all-time series, 15-9, including an 8-2 advantage in games played in Savage Arena.

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