Bradley brought a physical and athletic team into Savage Arena last night, and eventually turned back the University of Toledo 73-65 with its combination of inside strength and quickness on the perimeter.
"We knew we were going to be in a fight," UT women's coach Tricia Cullop said. "We knew what they are able to do. When you make a mistake, they make you pay."
The Braves (8-2) forced 25 Toledo turnovers and grabbed 19 offensive rebounds. The Rockets (4-7) made just one of their first 13 shots and put themselves in a hole they would spend the rest of the evening trying to escape.
"That makes things a lot tougher when you come out kind of flat like that," Toledo sophomore Melissa Goodall said. "We let their pressure get to us, and shot ourselves in the foot."
Toledo trailed 11-7 with about 11 minutes left in the half, but put together a spurt where the shots finally started to find the basket. Lisa Johnson's jumper from the elbow got the Rockets even with Bradley at 17-all with just under eight minutes to play in the half.
The Braves quickly got back to disrupting Toledo's attack, however, and led by six when Michelle Lund buried a 3-pointer on an inbounds play. When Bradley's tempo produced a fastbreak basket from Sonya Harris and a 10-point lead with about four minutes remaining in the half, Cullop took a timeout to try to stop the run.
But after Lund drilled a shot from just inside the arc on the next inbounds play the lead was 12, Bradley's largest advantage of the half.
"When we make a run, we can't let them make a run and get it right back," said Goodall, who led the Rockets with 18 points. "But they were a team that never let down. They know how to hold a lead."
Six straight points by Goodall got Toledo within 33-27 with just over a minute left in the half, but Bradley used the foul line to get back up by nine, 36-27, when the half ended.
Bradley tried to put the Rockets away early in the second half and opened the lead to 14 when Skye Johnson knocked down a baseline jump shot with just under 13 minutes to play, but Cullop put Toledo in full-court pressure and the Rockets had some success at trapping the ball and changing the momentum.
"When we started to get flat I thought our press brought some energy back into the game," she said. "Basketball is a game of momentum, and our kids needed something to turn the tide."
The Rockets were down just nine after Jessie Campo hit a 3-pointer from the wing with six minutes left in the game, and got within seven at 61-54 with a pair of free throws from Naama Shafir with 5:33 to play.
Shafir's 3-pointer from the corner with just over a minute to play cut it to 69-63, and after Campo stole the inbounds pass, Allie Clifton scored on a backdoor play to cut the lead to just four with 54 seconds to play. The Rockets mishandled the ball a couple times in the closing moments, and Bradley made enough of its free throws to seal the win.
"I was proud of the effort, especially what I saw at the end of the game," Cullop said.
"When we were down, our kids weren't hanging their heads. It was a lot of little things tonight, but we're going to keep working at it."
Tanika Mays had 15 points for UT, while Jessica Williams added 11. Toledo stayed in the game with a 27-32 performance at the foul line, despite shooting just 34 per cent from the field for the night.
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