With the win, the Rockets improve to 3-3 on the season.
Sophomore Lecretia Smith posted her first collegiate double-double to lead the Midnight Blue and Gold with 13 points and 10 rebounds and collect classic MVP honors. Joining Smith in double figures was senior Melissa Goodall with 15 points and three steals to also earn all-classic recognition. Junior Naama Shafir added 16 points and a game-high six assists, while sophomore Yolanda Richardson had nine points off the bench.
Shafir’s strong play at the outset helped the visitors set the tone and gave them a slim 9-8 edge at 15:24.
The Rockets then broke the game open with a 12-0 run to stretch their lead to 25-14 with 8:04 remaining in the period. Goodall sparked the burst with a deep triple and a lay-up to establish a double-digit cushion.
UT remained in control for the remainder of the half behind the strong play of Goodall and Shafir to hold a 31-23 lead at the intermission. The Rockets’ dynamic duo combined to score 17 of the team’s 31 points in the opening period.
The host Gaels made a charge to start the second half behind the hot shooting from Tomica Bacic and retook the lead, 38-37, at 14:50. Bacic scored seven points in her team’s 15-6 opening run to claim their first advantage since the 10:10 mark of the opening period.
UT quickly countered with a pivotal 21-6 burst over the ensuing five-plus minutes to reclaim a double-digit lead, 58-44, with 7:21 left in regulation. Smith started the game-changing run by scoring the first six points, followed by triples from junior Haylie Linn, senior Jessica Williams and junior Courtney Ingersoll to take a lead it would not surrender.
The Rockets’ lead did not dip below five points for the remainder of regulation to help even their overall record at 3-3. UT finished the game shooting an impressive 46.4 percent (26 of 56) from the field and held the edge on the boards (37-31) and in steals (15-5).
The Rockets return to action Tuesday, Nov. 30, when they travel to Jersey City, N.J., to play Saint Peter’s. The opening tip is slated for 7 p.m. in the Yanitelli Center. UT defeated the Peahens, 68-50, last season at home.