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Published: 3/8/2006

Rocket women pay visit to MAC tourney

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

There were a total of eight first-round, campus-site games in both the men's and women's divisions of the Mid-American Conference basketball tournament. Home teams won seven of them.

The exception was the University of Toledo women's squad which won at Buffalo, 70-58, and advanced to this evening's quarterfinal round at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

"We were the lone rangers," coach Mark Ehlen said of the road victory. "That's not an easy thing to do, especially at the end of a disappointing season. Some players might figure it's time to get things wrapped up and head for spring break. Our ladies chose to play another day."

The win at Buffalo was just the 10th in 27 games for the Rockets, who meet Western Michigan at 7:30 p.m.

"It's a good sign for this team," Ehlen said. "We've continued to fight. I can't be disappointed in that."

Although the Rockets closed the regular season with five straight losses, the last was an 87-86, double-overtime thriller at Western Michigan. Earlier in the season, UT let an 11-point halftime lead slip away at home and dropped a 73-71 decision to the Broncos (14-13).

"Our players can go in knowing we played them tough twice," Ehlen said. "The second one is certainly fresh in our minds."

So is Savannah Werner's individual play down the stretch. The 6-1 power forward scored 31 points in the win at Buffalo and averaged 18.2 points and 6.6 rebounds during UT's last five games.

Ehlen is also high on point guard Crystal Young, who finished first in the MAC in assist-turnover ratio and among the top five in both steals and assists.

"And that's for a team that has had trouble generating a lot of points," Ehlen said. "Crystal has had a very solid senior year. I think she ranks with all of the top point guards in the league."

Young had five assists and four steals in the win at Buffalo.

The winner of the Toledo-Western Michigan game will advance to meet the winner of today's 5:30 p.m. game between nationally ranked Bowling Green (25-2) and Northern Illinois (12-16) at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.

Contact Dave Hackenberg at:

dhack@theblade.com

or 419-724-6398.



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