Rockets soar past Charlotte, land in WNIT Championship game

March 30, 2011 | News, UToday
By Vicki L. Kroll

Senior Jessica Williams scored 15 points against UNC.

Senior Jessica Williams scored 15 points against UNC.

It was a historic night in Savage Arena. A total of 7,020 fans were on their feet and watched their Toledo Rockets fly by the Charlotte 49ers, 83-60, to advance to the WNIT Championship game.

Toledo will face USC Saturday, April 2, at 3 p.m. in Savage Arena. Reserved seats go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday at the UT Ticket Office. Call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

“We can’t thank you enough; our fan support — I’m blown away and humbled. You guys are amazing,” Head Coach Tricia Cullop told the crowd after the big win.

“We need you back … pack this place one more time, finish out on a good note,” she added.

With the win, the regular-season Mid-American Conference Champions set a new UT record with 28 victories.

It was a record-setting night. Toledo posted a new MAC and UT mark for fans at a women’s basketball game with 7,020 in attendance, blowing away the previous 5,851 set at last year’s UT-BGSU matchup.

And what a game they saw.

Yolanda Richardson won the opening tipoff, and Toledo scored the first nine points of the contest.

And the Rockets never looked back.

UT scored early, often and spread the offensive firepower around.

Jessica Williams hit a three-pointer, and then Yolanda Richardson, Melissa Goodall and Naama Shafir each added a bucket for the early lead.

Charlotte made it a 9-2 game at the 16:28 mark.

Toledo’s lead would continue to grow.

Courtney Ingersoll, Andola Dortch and Haylie Linn each chipped in two points to make it an 18-8 game. Goodall sunk another one to put the Rockets up by a dozen at the 11:59 mark.

Goodall found the net from three-point land to make it 29-12 with a little more than 10 minutes left in the first half.

The 49ers turned the ball over 10 times in the first 10 minutes of the half; Toledo took advantage, scoring 13 of its 29 points off those mistakes.

Dortch pushed the lead to 19 points, 33-14, with just under eight minutes to play. Three minutes later, Williams hit her third trey to extend UT’s advantage to 20 points, 38-18.

After Toledo went up by 23 points, Charlotte cut the lead to 20, 43-23 at halftime.

It was all Rockets in the second half. Shafir drained a shot to put Toledo up by 25 points, 59-34, around the 14-minute mark.

Two minutes later, Richardson popped in a couple shots to make it 65-34.

Toledo would lead by as many as 34 points on the night.

Five Rockets scored in double digits: Shafir with 16, Williams with 15, Richardson with 14, Dortch with 13 and Goodall with 11.

Toledo burned up the net, shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from beyond the three-point line.

USC beat Illinois State, 63-36, to advance to the WNIT Championship game.

It will be the first meeting between Toledo and Southern Cal.

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