In a rematch of last year’s Mid-American Conference championship game, the University of Toledo women’s basketball team found itself trailing late against Northern Illinois on Saturday at Savage Arena.
In a game it led most of the way, Toledo made enough plays down the stretch to get a key 63-60 win against one of its MAC West rivals.
Toledo's Mikaela Boyd (2) is surrounded by her teammates after she earned her fourth double-double in five games. Boyd finished Saturday's game against Northern Illinois with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Blade/Lori King Enlarge
Mikaela Boyd led the Rockets (12-5, 3-2 MAC) with 17 points and 13 rebounds for her fourth double-double in the past five games. Kaayla McIntyre added 16 points and Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott scored 13 points.
PHOTO GALLERY: Toledo 63, Northern Illinois 60
Kelly Smith and Mikayla Voigt paced the Huskies (10-6, 2-3 MAC) with 18 and 16 points, respectively, while Courtney Woods had 13 points. Voigt also had a game-high 10 assists.
“This has become a great rivalry in our division between the two schools,” UT coach Tricia Cullop said. “They are battling a lot of injuries, but I knew they would bring us a great effort.”
With 2 minutes, 19 seconds remaining, Toledo trailed 58-57, but after a timeout, Bravo-Harriott knocked down her third 3-pointer of the game to make it 60-57.
Boyd then would split a pair of free throws to give Toledo a 61-58 lead with 57 seconds remaining.
On the next Huskies possession, Smith knocked down a jumper to cut the lead to 61-60 with 52 seconds to go.
Mariella Santucci eventually would hit two free throws with 1.5 seconds left to make it 63-60. Northern Illinois advanced the ball to midcourt with a timeout. Then Woods missed a 3 as time expired.
“We just knew we had to buckle down and play our defense,” Boyd said. “Once we play our defense and get stops, that leads to quick transition points. We knew we couldn’t let them get a 3 off, but even though they did, it was contested.”
The Rockets were able to hold down a high-scoring Huskies team and by slowing down the pace, they limited a high-volume 3-point shooting team.
“The pace of this game favored us, because they like to put up 80 or 90,” Cullop said. “In some ways it was good that we kept them low. It kept them from having as many touches and getting opportunities to shoot the 3 as well as they do. To hold them 6-of-22 from 3 is a pretty good effort, because they are such a good 3-point shooting team. We knew what a defensive effort we would have to have.”
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