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Last-second shot goes Rockets' way

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Toledo's Savannah Werner goes around Ohio University's Chandra Myers with a pass in the first half of the Rockets' victory at Savage Hall.

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The ball had already clanged off the rim by the time the buzzer fell silent.

But to the University of Toledo women's basketball team, the shot seemed like it had stayed in the air for hours.

Up by a point with time winding down, the Rockets could only watch as Ohio University's Quintana Ward hoisted a desperation 3-pointer just before the final horn sounded.

Having lost three straight, including to rival Bowling Green last Sunday, UT was almost bracing for another disappointment as Ward's shot headed toward the basket.

Whether the Rockets wished upon a star, clicked their heels, or simply closed their eyes, it worked. Ward's shot banged off the iron, and UT came away with a 53-52 triumph.

"Everything was in slow motion," Rockets guard Danielle Bishop said. "You just watch it and pray that it doesn't go in."

UT coach Mark Ehlen sounded like he used a Jedi mind trick to push Ward's shot wide.

"I deserve that shot because I've been beaten on last-second shots too many times in the last few years," Ehlen said. "I finally got one to go our way a little bit."

Almost nothing was going Ehlen's way early on as the Rockets (8-14, 4-6 Mid-American Conference) committed five turnovers on their first six possessions.

The opportunity was there for the Bobcats to blow UT out of Savage Hall, but the visitors made their own mistakes, shooting just 32 percent (10-of-31) from the field and committing nine turnovers in the first half.

The Rockets were saved in the opening minutes not only by Ohio's inept offense, but by the play of reserve guard Olivia Terry. Terry scored eight of her 13 points in the first half, helping UT make it to halftime down only 26-24.

The Rockets trailed by as many as 10 points early in the second half, but they went on a pair of key runs to gain the lead. They embarked on a 9-0 spurt with 16:23 left to cut their deficit to one, then a 10-0 run beginning at 5:56.

Bishop led the charge on the latter of UT's rolls, scoring six of her 13 points in a span of about 2 1/2 minutes.

The Rockets had a few chances to put the game away late, including Ta'Yani Clark's steal with four seconds left that led to a pair of free throws.

But Clark (11 points) missed both foul shots, and the Bobcats' Rachel Frederick rebounded the ball, giving Ward one last crack.

Ohio (12-10, 5-5 MAC) was led by Adrian, Mich., native Lauren Kohn, a Syracuse transfer who finished with 17 points.

Contact Joe Vardon at:

jvardon@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.

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