Toledo defeats Arizona, 69-54, to capture Thanksgiving classic

November 30, 2014 | Athletics, News
By Brian DeBenedictis

Toledo secured an impressive 69-54 victory over Arizona in Sunday’s championship game of the Florida International University Thanksgiving Classic in Miami. With the win, UT improves to 3-2 on the season.

The Toledo Rockets won the Florida International University Thanksgiving Classic in Miami. UT beat Arizona, 69-54, and Virginia, 64-62.

The Toledo Rockets won the Florida International University Thanksgiving Classic in Miami. UT beat Arizona, 69-54, and Virginia, 64-62.

Senior Inma Zanoguera garnered tournament MVP accolades for the victorious Rockets and tied her career high for the second-straight contest, finishing with 24 points, seven boards, four helpers and three thefts.

During the two-game tourney, Zanoguera contributed 24.0 points, 6.0 caroms, 7.0 dimes and 1.5 steals in 38.0 minutes. The two-time All-Mid-American Conference performer shot a combined 13 of 18 from the floor and a flawless 18 of 18 from the free-throw line to help the Midnight Blue and Gold claim its 10th pre-conference tourney crown in school history.

Junior Ana Capotosto added 13 points and freshman all-tourney performer Michaela Rasmussen tacked on 11 points versus the Wildcats to propel Toledo to back-to-back wins for the first time this season. The Rockets defeated ACC member Virginia, 64-62, in the first round of the tourney Friday.

As a team, the Rockets shot 43.8 percent (21 of 48) from the floor, including 21.1 percent (4 of 19) from three-point range, and a sizzling 88.5 percent (23 of 26) from the free-throw line.

Malena Washington paced Arizona (2-3) with 12 points off the bench, followed by Keyahndra Cannon and LaBrittney Jones with 11 and 10, respectively.

The Wildcats looked sharp early and raced out to an 11-4 lead at the 12:11 mark. Dejza James and Jones combined for seven of the points to create a three-possession cushion.

UT then started to warm up at both ends of the court and ended the first half on an 18-6 run to create a 28-22 advantage at the intermission. Zanoguera scored the team’s final eight points and 10 total in the game-changing stretch to open up a six-point cushion at the half.

With the offense clicking, Toledo turned up the intensity defensively and limited Arizona to just one field goal over the final 5:30 of the period and never looked back.

Toledo kept the edge to start the second half and scored the first seven points to extend the margin to 35-22 with 18:18 remaining in regulation. Capotosto capped the run with a traditional three-point play to establish a double-digit lead.

The Rockets remained focused as the second period wore on and strung together an 11-0 run to put the game out reach, 49-29, at the 8:57 mark. UT never let the lead fall below 13 points for the remainder of regulation to post the impressive 15-point triumph.

Toledo put on a defensive clinic after a hot start offensively from Arizona and held the Pac-12 affiliate to 32.8 percent (19 of 58) from the field, including 18.8 percent (3 of 16) from three-point land.

The Rockets return to the hardwood on Wednesday, Dec. 10, at Atlantic 10 power Dayton. The opening tip against the Flyers is slated for 11 a.m.