Toledo’s Inma Zanoguera, right, steals the ball from Detroit’s Senee Shearer on Friday night. Zanoguera led the Rockets with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
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Lindsay Baker wasn’t necessarily in awe of her new surroundings at Savage Arena, but she did admit to some nervousness in the moments before her season debut with the Toledo women’s basketball team.
The nerves weren’t noticeable when the freshman guard from Indiana hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the second half, which helped the Rockets create vital breathing room.
Baker powered a second-half surge that helped Rockets defeat Detroit 79-70 on Friday night in the Toledo Invite.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view images from the game
Detroit whittled Toledo’s 18-point lead to five with less than seven minutes left in the second half, as Senee Shearer’s 3-pointer cut the Rockets’ lead to 67-62. Baker returned to the floor after a timeout and hit back-to-back 3-pointers that helped the Rockets regain an 11-point lead at 73-62 and control the momentum for the game’s final five minutes.
“We talked about a play we’d already had in our playbook, and [Coach Tricia Cullop] said, ‘I want you to get deep in the corner and get your feet set. I know you can hit it,’ ” said Baker, who scored 12 points after she missed Toledo’s first six games with a foot injury.
“Everybody looked at me and said, ‘I know you can hit it.’ It wasn’t really a drawn-up play. It was just execution.”
The Rockets (3-3) will face Valparaiso, which defeated Chicago State 74-50, at 4:30 p.m. today at Savage Arena.
The Rockets rallied from an early six-point deficit to take a 41-29 lead into halftime, boosted in part because they forced turnovers and grabbed rebounds late in the first half — something they’d struggled with in the game’s first five minutes.
Additionally, UT made only seven of it first 24 shots and was 1 for 11 from the 3-point arc.
“We’ve been practicing all week how to spread out, drive the lane, kick it out, and hit our shots,” said Inma Zanoguera, who led the Rockets with 18 points and 11 rebounds. “We know that the only thing that gets the defense to spread out is to start making those shots.
“What’s good is that the coaching staff is giving us a lot of confidence from out there. We just need to keep working on it and they’ll end up falling.”
Toledo led 60-42 less than nine minutes into the second half, but the Titans cut the lead to 67-62 before Baker’s back-to-back 3-pointers.
“I can’t say it was the turning point,” Baker said. “I think there were a lot of ups and downs in the game, which we’re trying to work on as a team. We’re trying to get away from being so roller-coaster like and be more consistent.
“But I definitely think it helped push us to try to knock down shots, get our feet set and really, buckle down on defense. Any time somebody hits a big shot, especially a three, the whole team gets fired up.”
VALPARAISO 74, CHICAGO STATE 50
Sharon Karungi scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to help Valparaiso win its first game of the season. Paris Williams scored 17 points and Tierra Williams added 16 points for Chicago State, which faces Detroit at 2 p.m. today.
Surgery ends season for Falcons’ Orr
BOWLING GREEN — Bowling Green State University junior guard/forward Chauncey Orr had season-ending knee surgery Friday and will miss the rest of the season.
Orr, the son of BG men’s basketball coach Louis Orr, played in just the first half of the Falcons’ season-opening game versus Earlham.
Last season, Orr averaged 7.5 points and 3.7 rebounds in 32 games, including 31 starts, for Bowling Green. He was the team's top returning scorer entering this season.