The University of Toledo s Allison Lindborg wrestles the ball away from Northern Illinois Mary Basic last night at Savage Hall. NIU defeated Toledo 63-60 as the Rockets lost for the first time in Mid-American Conference play. The Rockets leading scorer, Karin Hoogendam, left the game early with an apparent broken nose and did not return.
It was a question the Toledo women's team likely did not want to have to answer.
Rockets coach Mark Ehlen certainly did not like his team's response to the challenge of performing without all-everything senior center Karin Hoogendam in a 63-60 setback to Northern Illinois last night at Savage Hall.
Hoogendam took an offensive charge and a shot to the face from Kristin Wiener just two and a half minutes into the game. Hoogendam most likely received a broken nose in the exchange, went to the locker room and returned to the bench, where she sat out the remainder of the contest.
"When you take someone out that has been averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds per game in the first few minutes, that doesn't help," UT women's coach Mark Ehlen said. "But that is why you have a team of players and someone has to step up."
Hoogendam, who came into the game leading the Rockets in points, rebounds, steals and blocked shots, never scored. Team doctor Shari Tonks made the decision to not allow Hoogendam to return to action. Hoogendam will be evaluated today, but she is expected to play Saturday against Bowling Green.
"I think it's broken. Obviously, we did not let her play," Ehlen said.
Toledo (6-8, 2-1 MAC) had won five of its last seven games coming into the contest and suffered its first loss in conference play. Northern Illinois (5-8, 2-0) moved into a first-place tie with Bowling Greens.
Toledo's Savannah Werner, left, tries to bounce the ball off the leg of a Northern Illinois defender.
The last time Hoogendam missed the majority of a game, the Rockets were drilled by Marquette 67-28 on Nov. 24. Hoogendam played only 13 minutes against the Golden Eagles due to foul trouble.
Toledo was down by three at the half, but then made just one of its first four shots in the first six minutes of the second half, turned the ball over four times and found itself trailing by 10. Meanwhile, the Huskies hit seven of their first 13 second-half shots.
"I had to call a timeout with less than a minute gone in the second half," Ehlen said. "I'm disappointed that we had no enthusiasm and no intensity."
Toledo converted on only seven of 26 3-point attempts (26.9 percent), while Northern Illinois went 14 of 15 from the free-throw line. The Huskies also scored 36 points in the paint compared to 18 for the Rockets.
"We shoot too many 3s and we miss way too many of them," Ehlen said.
Crystal Young, who hit both of her 3-point attempts, led UT with a career-high 15 points. Danielle Bishop scored 13 points and pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds. Forward Allison Lindborg, who took many of the minutes vacated by Hoogendam, tied her career-highs in points (10), rebounds (eight) and set a new personal mark in minutes played (36).
"Obviously, we want Karin in there to help us out," Lindborg said. "With Karin not out there, I felt I needed to step it up. But we have to come together as a team and make up for that absence."
The Huskies took the lead for good with 4:27 left in the first half as Jamie Wilson scored, was fouled and made the subsequent free throw for a 24-22 advantage.
Toledo closed within six points with 11:30 remaining, but the Rockets then went scoreless over the next five and a half minutes and fell behind by nine.
The Rockets did make a mad scramble at the end as Young converted two 3-pointers in the final minute and freshman Aaron Richmond hit another 3 at the buzzer. Toledo closed the game with a 12-3 run, but it too late. It was the Huskies' first win at Savage Hall since 1986.
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