UT's Inma Zanoguera, left, and teammate Yolanda Richardson try to steal the ball from St. Bonaventure’s Hannah Little in the second half. The Rockets beat the Bonnies 59-45 to win the inaugural Glass City Tournament in Toledo.
The Blade/Jetta Fraser
If the University of Toledo women’s basketball team continues to capture tournament titles, its players will be collecting a lot of gifts this month.
One week after Naama Shafir and Andola Dortch left Reno with plaques signaling their prowess in the team’s triumph at the John Ascuaga’s Nugget Classic, the veteran guards received a much sweeter handout. After propelling Toledo to a pair of dominant victories in the inaugural Glass City Tournament, including Sunday’s throttling of St. Bonaventure, the backcourt mates opened miniature white boxes containing expensive wrist watches. Retail value for a Nike + Sportband: About $60.
Shafir snagged MVP honors for the second straight tournament in spite of her missing the second half of the first round game, while Dortch and center Yolanda Richardson were named to the all-tournament team after the Rockets breezed to a 59-45 win in the final.
The Rockets, who improved to 6-1, will participate in two more tournaments this month, including the Toledo Invite on Dec. 20-21 at Savage Arena.
“It’s been a great experience, what it’s like to play at home, what it’s like to play on the road,” coach Tricia Cullop said. “They get used to having to play back-to-back days, especially against totally different styles. We see how coachable our team can be and how quickly we can make adjustments.”
One day after it made quick work of SIU-Edwardsville, Toledo never trailed against a St. Bonaventure squad that captured two wins in the NCAA tournament last season. Shafir, who recovered fast from an ankle injury that preempted her participation a day earlier, scored 10 points, and three of her teammates were in double figures. Richardson and Dortch notched 12 points a piece, and Lecretia Smith contributed 11.
That the Rockets managed to cruise through their first ever home invitational despite no player scoring more than 12 points speaks to the team’s wealth of talent, Dortch said.
“We already know everybody on our team can contribute, but by us sharing the ball and showing that, it helped us get both of our victories,” she said.
Dortch added six rebounds, and Richardson had nine. Shafir was an easy pick for MVP after totaling 24 points and nine assists over the two games. “We don’t want to lose here,” Shafir said, after Toledo improved to 60-8 at Savage Arena in the past five seasons. “It’s something we always talk about.”
St. Bonaventure, which at 4-5 has already lost more times than last season, was without its leading scorer. Forward Doris Ortega, who entered the tournament averaging 11.7 points and 7.3 rebounds, missed the game with an illness. She produced a pedestrian stat line — four points, seven rebounds — in Saturday’s 20-point win over Southern.
“She’s a nice player,” Cullop said. “She was all over the scouting report.”
The Bonnies’ second leading scorer, guard CeCe Dixon, did not start because of disciplinary issues and scored three points in 20 minutes. Emily Michael paced her team with 13 points. SBU coach Jim Crowley declined an interview request after the game.
Toledo, which forced 19 turnovers and limited the Bonnies to 31 percent shooting from the floor, led by as many as 22 points in the second half.
“If we stop them and do what we have to do on offense, it’s a great day,” Dortch said.
CONSOLATION GAME: SIU Edwardsville topped Southern, 55-53, in the earlier game. Raven Berry scored 14 points to lead the Cougars, who put together a 9-0 run to start the second half after ending the first half on a 7-0 run.
Contact Ryan Autullo at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6160 or on Twitter @AutulloBlade.