BOWLING GREEN -- As somebody that's accustomed to playing at least 30 minutes a game, University of Toledo senior forward Melissa Goodall isn't comfortable sitting the bench.
But after picking up her second foul just 2:24 into Wednesday night's showdown at Bowling Green State University's Anderson Arena, that's exactly where she found herself.
Goodall played just five minutes in the first half, so by the time crunch time rolled around, she was more than ready to make a crucial play.
With 19.4 seconds on the clock and the Rockets leading by two, UT junior guard Naama Shafir missed a free throw and a feeling of despair came over her. Yet it was none other than Goodall who turned the misfortune around on the Falcons when she vaulted in front of two BG players trying to box her out and snagged the offensive rebound before getting fouled.
Goodall promptly knocked down the two ensuing free throws, giving the Rockets a four-point cushion, and they went on to claim a dramatic 66-65 victory.
"Whenever any of us step up [to the foul line], we have full confidence that we're going to knock down the shots," Goodall said. "But needless to say, I'm going to go crash the boards just as hard whether I'm 100 percent sure she's going to make it or I'm 100 percent sure she's going to miss it.
"The ball came right to me, so I was able to go up and get it and secure it. Then stepping to the line, it was a little bit nerve-racking but I'm a senior now and that's my time to shine."
Goodall's scrappy rebound and subsequent clutch free throws proved to be the final difference, as BG forward Jen Uhl came down and nailed a 3-pointer on the Falcons' next possession but UT managed to cling to that one-point edge.
Rockets coach Tricia Cullop celebrates with her team after defeating Bowling Green in Anderson Arena.
"It was huge," Shafir said. "There was only 20 seconds left, and I'm pretty sure for them it was like, 'Oh God.' It was a big play for us."
The entire second half proved to be big play after big play from Goodall. She scored 10 of her 15 points after the break while playing every minute of the second half and finishing with seven rebounds.
Just as important for the Rockets, though, was sophomore forward Yolanda Richardson's performance in the first half. She entered in place of Goodall after her early foul trouble and posted a team-high nine rebounds in the contest while adding four points.
"When Goody got in foul trouble, it would have been really easy for our team to have said, 'Ah, it's over,' but Yolanda played huge minutes in the first half. She had to step up and be big for us," UT coach Tricia Cullop said.
"[Goodall] played a tremendous second half. She hit big basket after big basket, and that rebound might be my favorite one of hers for the year."
Contact Zach Silka at: email@example.com or 419-724-6084.
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