Toledo took care of its business and secured a 59-45 victory over St. Bonaventure Sunday in the championship game of the inaugural Glass City Tournament in Savage Arena.With the impressive 14-point triumph, the Rockets’ run their win streak to five-straight games and improve to 6-1 overall.
UT shot an impressive 44.6 percent (25 of 56) from the floor and 75.0 percent (6 of 8) from the charity stripe to capture its second tourney title in the last nine days. The Rockets also won the John Ascuaga’s Nugget Classic in Reno, Nev., last weekend with victories against Santa Clara and the host Wolf Pack.
The three-time reigning Mid-American Conference West Division Champions also did a great job taking care of the basketball against the Bonnies (4-5) and finished with 18 assists, compared to only 14 turnovers.
Senior Yolanda Richardson led four Rockets in double figures with 12 points, nine boards, three dimes and two rejections to garner all-tourney accolades.
Joining Richardson in double digits were senior Naama Shafir and junior Andola Dortch with 12 points each, and senior Lecretia Smith had 11. Richardson and Smith controlled the lane and helped UT post a sizable 36-14 edge in points in the paint.
Shafir was the only Rocket to score at least 10 points in both contests this weekend and was selected the tourney MVP for a second straight week. The Hoshaya, Israel, native averaged a team-high 11.0 points per game and 4.5 assists per game and was accompanied on the all-tournament squad by Dortch and Richardson.
As has become customary with the Rockets this season, they jumped out to an early lead. Toledo received three points from Smith, as well as field goals from Richardson and Shafir to take a 7-2 advantage at 16:23.
St. Bonaventure quickly retaliated with a mini 5-0 run to knot the difference at 7-7 with 11:30 remaining in the half. SBU collected a field goal from all-tourney performer Alaina Walker, a pair of charity tosses from Ashley Zahn, and a single free throw from Hannah Little to draw the teams even nearing the midway point of the opening period.
UT was able to respond with a jumper by Smith and a triple from Dortch to reclaim the lead for good, 12-7, at 10:48.
Toledo continued to play with the advantage as the first stanza wore on and back-to-back baskets from Richardson and Smith made the score 20-15, forcing the Bonnies into a timeout at 5:40.
The Rockets were still not done attacking and closed the half with an 11-1 burst to open up a 30-19 cushion at the intermission. Sophomore Inma Zanoguera sparked the late run with six points to help the home team build a double-digit cushion at the break.
Smith led the midnight blue and gold with nine points in the opening 20 minutes, while Zanoguera and Richardson had six points each.
The Rockets did not take their foot off the accelerator to begin the second period, scoring nine of the first 10 points to open up a 39-20 lead, prompting St. Bonaventure into another stoppage at 17:27. Dortch and Richardson combined to tally all nine points in the run.
Toledo then put the game away with a triple by Shafir, followed by back-to-back field goals from junior Brianna Jones and senior Kyle Baumgartner to expand the cushion to 51-30 at 9:06.
SBU did not go down without a fight and cut the margin to 13 points, 53-40, with a little under five minutes left, but UT stood its ground and did not let the visitors pull any closer.
Emily Michael paced St. Bonaventure with 13 points, and Walker had 11 points in a losing effort.
The Bonnies were limited to 31.7 percent (13 of 41) from the floor; this included 33.3 percent (5 of 13) from beyond the arc, and 51.9 percent (6 of 8) from charity stripe. SBU was guilty of 19 miscues in the tourney finals , and UT turned those into 25 points.
The Rockets return to action Saturday, Dec. 8, when they host Horizon League member Milwaukee. The opening tip against the Panthers will at 2 p.m. in Savage Arena. UT will look to avenge a 60-57 setback to UWM last year the Klotsche Center.