Rockets can't survive second-half slump

Marquette's 23-4 run provides win for Eagles

University of Toledo center Yolanda Richardson (33) goes to the net against Marquette's Cristina Bigica (35) Saturday.
University of Toledo center Yolanda Richardson (33) goes to the net against Marquette's Cristina Bigica (35) Saturday.

A loss of focus during a key stretch in the second half Saturday afternoon doomed the University of Toledo women's basketball team against Marquette.

The Golden Eagles used a 23-4 run midway through the half to take an insurmountable 13-point lead and held on for a 69-60 victory over UT in front of 3,725 at Savage Arena.

The Rockets (7-5) led 25-24 at halftime but came unraveled defensively after the break.

"This is a disappointing loss today because we played so well in the first half," UT coach Tricia Cullop said. "We had about four or five minutes where we lost focus [in the second half] and didn't hustle the way that we had."

Marquette (9-5) shot 61.5 percent (16-of-26) from the field in the second half after being held to a 31.3 percent (10-of-32) shooting effort in the first 20 minutes.

"We slacked off a little bit going into the second half when we should have just kept our momentum from the first half," said UT junior center and Start graduate Yolanda Richardson, who posted her second straight outing in double figures with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Senior guard Courtney Ingersoll led the Rockets, who defeated Northwestern on the road Tuesday 75-56, with a game-high 19 points.

"It can be frustrating [when] you're on these highs and then you have these valleys and peaks," Ingersoll said. "We need to find some consistency and get back on a relaxed stage and play our game."

Toledo led by as many as seven following a 7-0 run capped by Ingersoll's 3-pointer from the right corner with 13:02 remaining.

But three minutes later, Marquette opened up its game-breaking run with six straight points from Arlesia Morse, and following a bucket by Ingersoll, Sarina Simmons dropped in six more points for the Eagles.

Marquette's Katie Young then bookended nine points around Richardson's basket, and Apiew Ojulu capped the surge with a driving layup that put the Eagles up 58-47 at the 6:07 mark.

"You have to stay focused against good teams," Cullop said. "We didn't talk on screens, and we gave up too many open shots. There's a reason why they shot the percentage they shot in the second half. If we would have talked and gotten a hand in the face of the shooters, 62 percent wouldn't have happened."

Sophomore guard Andola Dortch also was on the bench during much of Marquette's run while being evaluated for a possible concussion, which also contributed to Toledo's downfall according to Cullop.

"Not having her during that stretch really, really hurt," she said.

The Rockets also were just 8-of-16 from the free-throw line in the contest compared to Marquette's 13-of-19 at the foul line. In addition, UT committed 19 turnovers, and the Eagles turned it over just 10 times despite entering the contest minus-three in average turnover ratio.

"To give up that many turnovers and also to miss the free throws, those two things combined really, really hurt us," Cullop said.

Contact Zach Silka at:, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @ZachSilka.