Senior Inma Zanoguera drained a three-point field goal with 5.0 seconds left to lift Toledo to a 64-62 come-from-behind victory against Virginia Friday in the opening round of the Florida International University Thanksgiving Classic in Miami.With the win, the Rockets improve to 2-2 on the season.
UT now will play Pac-12 Conference member Arizona in the championship game of the two-day tourney Sunday, Nov. 30, at 11:30 a.m.
The Wildcats defeated the host Panthers, 65-58, in Friday’s other first-round matchup.
With the Rockets trailing by one point and only 13 seconds left on the clock, Zanoguera took the ball the length of the court and buried her collegiate-best fourth triple from the left wing to hand the Cavaliers (4-1) their first loss of the season.
Virginia’s Mikayla Venson had a chance to win the game in regulation with a three-pointer at the buzzer, but her long-range shot was off the mark to the left.
Zanoguera finished with a career-tying best 24 points and a collegiate-high 10 assists to post her 13th career double-double. The fourth-year Rocket played a near perfect game and shot 7 of 9 from the floor, including a flawless 4 of 4 from beyond the arc, and a perfect 6 of 6 from the free-throw line in 38 minutes.
Freshman Michaela Rasmussen added season highs with 19 points and eight caroms in 38 minutes. The Chaska, Minn., native was a force inside and posted double figures for a second straight game.
Junior Ana Capotosto also chipped in 11 points, seven boards and one steal to help the Rockets defeat an Atlantic Coast Conference team for the first time since 2011.
As a team, the Rockets shot a season-high 47.8 percent (22 of 46) from the field, including 31.8 percent (7 of 22) from three-point range, and 13 of 19 from the charity stripe. The Midnight Blue and Gold also did a good job of taking care of the ball and finished with 13 helpers and only 12 miscues.
Faith Randolph led Virginia with 21 points, Lauren Moses had 14 points with eight rebounds, and Sarah Imovbioh tallied nine points with a game-high nine caroms.
The situation did not look good for the Rockets near the end of regulation as they were down 60-56 at the 1:51 mark. Fortunately for the Midnight Blue and Gold, they ended the game with an 8-2 run to even their overall record.
Capotosto started the rally by splitting a pair of charity tosses. After forcing a Virginia turnover, Zanoguera drained a pair of free throws to make it a one-point difference, 60-59, at the 1:08 mark. The Rockets caused another Virginia miscue and translated it into a field goal by sophomore Janice Monakana to retake the lead, 61-60, with 32 seconds remaining.
Following a timeout, Virginia’s Venson knocked down a jumper to give the lead back to the home team, 62-61, with 13 seconds left and set the stage for Zanoguera’s last-second heroics.
In the first half, the Rockets converted four straight treys to open up an 18-15 cushion at the 9:54 mark. Capotosto sparked the long-range assault with a pair of triples, while Zanoguera and Rasmussen also hit from beyond the arc.
UT then went cold from the field and allowed Virginia to go on an 11-0 burst to make the difference 31-23 lead with 3:09 remaining in the opening period. The Cavaliers took advantage of four points each from Moses and Imovbioh and three by Randolph to build a three-possession lead.
The Rockets’ Rasmussen remained hot to end the first half and scored the teams’ final four points to close the margin to 33-27 at the intermission. The first-year Rocket tallied 11 of UT’s 27 points in the opening half.
Virginia methodically pushed the margin to double figures, 48-38, in the second period on the strength of eight straight points from Randolph with 12:29 left in regulation.
Toledo hung tough, though, and benefitted from an 8-2 burst to trim the deficit to 53-49, prompting the Cavaliers into a timeout at the 6:13 mark. Rasmussen, Zanoguera and Capotosto each tallied points in this time span to make it a two-possession game and give UT a chance in the waning moments of regulation.