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Toledo women tough out road win at Western Michigan

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Toledo's Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott, shown in a game earlier this season, had 24 points in a win at Western Michigan Wednesday night.

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The University of Toledo women’s basketball team won its second straight game, defeating Western Michigan 78-73 on Wednesday night at University Arena.

After a two-game losing skid with losses at Buffalo and at home to Kent State, Toledo won at Bowling Green on Saturday, and that momentum carried over to Wednesday as the Rockets won their eighth straight game against Western Michigan.

Senior Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott paced Toledo (15-7, 6-4 Mid-American Conference) with 24 points, Kaayla McIntyre add 17 points, Mikaela Boyd had 14, and Olivia Cunningham scored 11.

Breanna Mobley tallied 20 points to lead Western Michigan (12-10, 5-5). Deja Wimby added 19 points.

Toledo was in control for most of the game and led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter, but the Rockets had to hold off a late Western Michigan charge.

Toledo took an 11-point lead with 6 minutes, 40 seconds to play after a Bravo-Harriott 3-pointer gave the Rockets a 67-56 edge.

But the Broncos chipped away at the lead and — after a 16-7 run during the next 4:25 — cut the Toledo lead to 74-72 with 1:57 left after a Najee Smith 3-pointer.

From that point on, even though Toledo struggled to score, the Rockets got key stops the rest of the game, limiting the Broncos to just one point from the free throw line.

Boyd hit two clutch free throws to give Toledo a 76-72 lead with 15 seconds left. On the next Western Michigan possession, Wimby made one of two free throws to make it 76-73 with 10 seconds left. But after Toledo passed the ball around the perimeter, Mariella Santucci was fouled.

She stepped to the line and confidently made both free throws to give the Rockets a 78-73 lead with four seconds left. Sarah St-Fort then got a steal to cap off a big road win.

Toledo, which has struggled at times this season from the free throw line, shot 19 of 22 from the foul line, while Western Michigan shot 13 of 21.

The Rockets shot 27 of 51 from the field and made 5 of 15 from the 3-point line, including two 3s each from Bravo-Harriott and Cunningham.

Western Michigan managed to shoot 28 of 63 from the field and 4 of 10 from 3.

Toledo led 20-16 after a back-and-forth first quarter. The Rockets never trailed in the second quarter and took a 37-31 lead into halftime.

Toledo worked up a double-digit lead in the third quarter and led 58-44 with 1:43 left in the quarter after a Santucci layup. The Rockets took a 59-48 lead into the fourth quarter.

Western Michigan scored the first three points of the final quarter to get the game back to single digits. Toledo extended the lead to 11 points on three different occasions in the quarter, with the last coming on Bravo-Harriott’s second 3-pointer of the game.

The Rockets return home to face MAC East foe Buffalo on Saturday at Savage Arena. Toledo lost 87-69 at Buffalo on Jan. 20.

Contact Brian Buckey at bbuckey@theblade.com419-724-6110, or on Twitter @BrianBuckey.

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