Sophomore Inma Zanoguera scored a career-high 24 points to lead Toledo to a 61-43 victory over Youngstown State Saturday in the second round of the WNIT before 2,568 fans in Savage Arena.With the wire-to-wire win, the Rockets improve to 29-3 on the season. UT will play the winner of Monday’s contest between Illinois-Eastern Illinois. The third round of the postseason tourney is slated for Wednesday-Friday, March 27-29. Sites and times for that round will be released at a later date.
Zanoguera shot a sparkling 10 of 14 from the field against the Penguins, including a perfect three of three from beyond the arc, to fuel the 2012-13 Mid-American Conference Regular-Season Champions’ attack. The Llucmajor, Spain, native added four rebounds and a game-high three steals to post double figures for the 10th time in the last 12 games. Her previous career high was 19 points against Central Michigan Jan. 10.
Joining Zanoguera in double digits was senior Naama Shafir with 14 points and a season-tying best eight rebounds.
As a team, Toledo shot 40.0 percent (24 of 60) from the floor, including 33.3 percent (4 of 12) from three-point range, and 69.2 percent (9 of 13) from the charity stripe to advance to the Sweet 16 of the postseason tourney for a third-straight season.
The Midnight Blue and Gold controlled the interior for a second-straight postseason game and finished with an impressive 34-10 edge in points in the paint. The 2011 WNIT Champions also maintained a sizable 48-31 advantage on the boards, winning the battle on the glass for a 14th consecutive contest.
Horizon League Player of the Year Brandi Brown led the Penguins (23-10) with 10 points and four caroms, but UT’s strong defensive effort forced her into a 3 of 13 shooting performance. Brown came into today’s game averaging 20.4 points per game and 11.3 rebounds per game.
Toledo was tenacious on defense all afternoon and limited YSU to its second-lowest offensive output of the season. The Penguins shot a season-low 25.0 percent (13 of 52) from the field and were guilty of 22 turnovers. The Horizon League member was averaging 64.0 points per game on 39.2 percent shooting from the floor.
The Rockets, who have not trailed as of yet in the postseason, exploded out of the gates and held an 18-5 lead at the 12:25 mark. The home team knocked down nine of their first 14 shots to build the early-digit cushion. Zanoguera did a bulk of the damage at the outset, knocking down her first four field-goal attempts.
With the offense running smoothly, UT’s defense took over, forcing YSU to miss 10 of its first 12 shots and caused 11 turnovers to help extend its cushion to 23-5 with 7:47 left in the opening period. At one point in the first 20 minutes, Toledo took four offensive charges.
The Rockets’ constant defensive pressure wreaked havoc all afternoon and paid huge dividends in the waning moments of the half, as Zanoguera buried back-to-back triples to give them a 30-15 advantage at the intermission.
Zanoguera remained on fire shooting the basketball to begin the second stanza, scoring 10 quick points to give UT an insurmountable 44-27 advantage with 11:32 remaining in regulation. Toledo’s lead did not dip below 13 points the remainder of the afternoon.
With today’s 18-point triumph, the Rockets have equaled their school record for victories in a season and tied for second most in MAC history. Toledo also won 29 contests two years ago, while the league record is 31 wins by Bowling Green during the 2006-07 campaign.