The University of Toledo women's basketball team knew slowing down Indiana State was the best way to beat the Sycamores.
The Rockets held Indiana State to its lowest scoring day of the season, but a brief offensive breakout by ISU in the second half gave the Sycamores enough to hold on for the win.
Laura Rudolphi's two free throws with 4.8 seconds left defeated UT, 53-51, at Savage Hall yesterday. The Rockets dropped to 4-6.
"I'm proud of our team, we came back and found a way to tie," UT coach Mark Ehlen said. "It comes down to one play and the kid makes the free throw."
Baskets from Diana Reindl, Olivia Terry, and Savannah Werner brought the Rockets back from a nine-point deficit late in the game.
Reindl's steal and score got UT within two points with 1:27 to play, and Werner's layup with 50 seconds left tied the game.
The Sycamores (6-3) let the shot clock tick down before getting up a hurried 3. Terry got the rebound but fell out of bounds to give the ball back to ISU with 14 seconds left.
ISU fed the ball to Rudolphi, who was fouled by Werner as she turned toward the basket and put up a shot.
"I'm sure it was a foul, and if it wasn't a foul, it was close to a foul, and the refs are always going to make that call," Ehlen said. "If there's one thing we didn't defend very well it was their post game."
With the Rockets out of timeouts, Danielle Bishop had to take a 40-foot desperation shot at the buzzer that fell short.
Reindl had 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots to lead the Rockets.
It was her fourth double-double of the season. Rudolphi and Rachel Maenpaa each scored 14 points to lead Indiana State.
The Sycamores came into the game averaging 85 points a game. UT held them to 33 percent shooting, but the Rockets shot poorly themselves, making just 1-of-15 3-pointers.
"We didn't want to go up and down with them," Ehlen said. "That's their game. Their press, while I wish we would have attacked it better, got into our offense a little bit easier, it forced a slower-paced game and I thought it was to our advantage.
"I thought we had good looks throughout the game, but we just couldn't get them to fall. We had a hard time generating offense."
UT was up by as many as nine in the first half, but a 14-2 second-half Indiana State run erased the Rockets' three-point halftime lead. The Sycamores made three of their five 3-pointers during the streak.
Indiana State's full-court press stifled UT numerous times, the Sycamores forcing 18 turnovers.
"We had some mental lapses in the pressure, but we tried to do the best we could," Reindl said.
Werner added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Rockets.
"I thought we played really hard defensively," Ehlen said. "We did a nice job defending their 3s, we've done that all year. We gave ourselves a chance to win. We just didn't get it done."
Contact Maureen Fulton at: email@example.com or 419-724-6160.