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Published: Saturday, 1/15/2005

Rivalry is big motivator for UT, BGSU women

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

It's always a big game when Toledo and Bowling Green meet in any sport, but tonight's women's basketball contest at UT's Savage Hall has added significance.

If both teams want to hold onto the hope of winning the Mid-American Conference's West Division title, earning a victory in tonight's meeting of archrivals is critical.

UT and BG join Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan at 2-1 in the West, with all four teams looking up at 2-0 Northern Illinois.

Toledo coach Mark Ehlen said his team doesn't need any added motivation to prepare for tonight's game.

"All BG-UT matchups are big games," he said. "It's the nature of this rivalry. Bowling Green is a talented team that has enough firepower to be at the top of this league when it's over. They're shooting the ball extremely well and they've had our number the last few years.

"I would hope our players get up for this game, because this is a special match-up. It's what rivalry games are all about."

Center Karin Hoogendam, Toledo's leading scorer and rebounder, is expected to play tonight despite suffering a broken nose against Northern Illinois. She will wear a protective faceguard.

Toledo's 6-8 record notwithstanding, Bowling Green coach Curt Miller said his team expects the Rockets to put together a strong performance tonight.

"I still believe [Toledo] is the sleeper team in the MAC," Miller said. "They have seven newcomers in their program, and we had a class of seven [newcomers] last year.

"For us, everything gelled and we were playing great basketball at the end of the year. I don't think it would be a stretch for Toledo to go through the same thing."

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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