EVANSTON, IL – Toledo returned to the hardwood following the holiday season in fine fashion and claimed an impressive 75-56 win at Northwestern on Tuesday inside Welsh-Ryan Arena. With the double-digit road victory, UT improves to 2-0 against Big Ten teams this season and 7-4 overall.
Junior Yolanda Richardson led four Rockets in double figures with a season-high 19 points, seven boards and a career-best four assists. Richardson came into tonight’s non-league matchup with a combined 15 points over the previous three contests. The Toledo native shot 9-of-12 from the field and 1-of-2 from the charity stripe in a season-best 31 minutes to score in double figures for the third time in 2011-12.
Joining Richardson in double digits included sophomore Andola Dortch with 17 points, junior Kyle Baumgartner tallied 16 points and senior Courtney Ingersoll chipped in 13 points. The Midnight Blue & Gold also received eight quality points from freshman Inma Zanoguera to help remove some of the sting from their 60-57 setback at Milwaukee on Sunday, Dec. 18.
The Rockets shot 47.5 percent (29-of-61) from the floor, including a stellar 50.0 percent (7-of-14) from three-point land, and 62.5 percent (10-of-16) from the charity stripe to improve to 2-3 in road contests this season.
UT also won the battle on the boards against a considerably bigger Northwestern (10-3) squad, 44-29. Four Toledo finished at least seven rebounds, including Dortch with a season-high nine caroms.
The 2010-11 Mid-American Conference regular-season champions had things rolling early on, hitting three triples in the first six-plus minutes to race out to a 14-10 lead at the 13:40 mark. Ingersoll, Baumgartner and Zanoguera each dialed one up from beyond the arc to give the visitors the early four-point advantage.
Northwestern quickly countered with a 9-2 run to assume a 19-16 lead with 8:35 left in the opening stanza. NU’s Kendall Hackney scored the first four points in the burst, while Allison Mocchi buried a trey and Morgan Jones hit a pair of free throws to help the home team retake the lead.
UT responded though with a 13-6 burst over the final six-plus minutes to take a 29-25 lead into the intermission. Dortch and Richardson did a majority of the work in the run, scoring 11 of the points to establish a two-possession lead at the break.
Toledo’s Richardson remained red-hot shooting the basketball to begin the second half, hitting her first two shots to push the lead to eight points, 33-25, at 19:01.
Moments later, Baumgartner nailed a three-point field goal and senior Haylie Linn made a layup to stretch the margin to double digits, 38-27, with 17:38 left in regulation.
The Rockets maintained at least a five-point cushion for the next 11-plus minutes until Northwestern made the difference 53-49 at the 6:16 mark. Tailor Jones sparked the rally with nine points.
UT would not denied though and utilized a 15-2 run to put the game away, 68-51, with only 2:51 left in regulation. Ingersoll drained a pair of triples and converted a three-point play to spearhead the game-sealing run. They also received a trey from Zanoguera and a three-point play from Richardson to put the contest out of reach.
Morgan Jones paced the Wildcats with 18 points and Hackney had 10 points.
The home team was held to 36.4 percent (20-of-55) from the field and 22.2 percent (4-of-18) from three-point land to suffer only their second home loss of the season.
Toledo will now wrap up its non-conference slate vs. Big East foe Marquette on Saturday, Dec. 31. The opening tip on New Year’s Eve from Savage Arena is slated for 1:00 p.m.
The Rockets & Golden Eagles will be meeting for the fourth time with MU winning the first three matchups. Marquette claimed a 65-54 road victory on March 20 in the opening round of the 2003 WNIT, earned a 66-58 road triumph on Dec. 20, 2003 and emerged with a 67-28 home win on Nov. 24, 2004.