urday, the UT women’s basketball team claimed a 69-68 victory over Western Michigan. The win improves the Rocket record to 16-10 overall, 7-7 in Mid-American Conference play.
“I’ve seen too many times where a basket at the end of a game like that three, that dagger, and that momentum makes the game switch,” UT head coach Tricia Cullop said. “We’ve been on the back end of that sometimes. I was so proud of our kids for not letting it affect them and just going into the overtime ready to play.”
Third-year center Kaayla McIntyre converted a layup with 0.2 seconds left in overtime to give the game to UT. McIntyre shot 12-of-13 from the floor.
McIntyre led the Rocket offense with a game-high 25 points, a contest-best 12 rebounds, four assists and a career-high four steals to post her seventh double-double of the year. Fourth-year forward Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott added 21 points and a season-high seven rebounds.
Second-year guard Mariella Santucci helped Toledo with seven points and seven assists and third year Mikaela Boyd helped with six points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and two steals.
As a team, the Rockets shot 45.2 percent (28-of-62) from the field, including 22.2 percent (4-of-18) from beyond the arc, and 45.0 percent (9-of-20) from the free throw line.
The Broncos got the early advantage by scoring the last nine points in the first quarter to take a 19-16 lead.
In the second quarter, Western Michigan went on an 11-2 run to take a 36-29 lead into the break.
“The first half kind of started out rocky for us and obviously going into the locker room with a deficit, we had a lot to talk about,” Cullop said. “I was proud of how we handled that situation, especially without the services of one of our starters in Sarah St-Fort. She had a concussion in practice yesterday and couldn’t play. It’s not easy to juggle things around.”
Toledo came out firing in the third quarter, pulling to within three points at 42-39, following Bravo-Harriott’s second three-pointer with 5:57 remaining in the quarter. WMU answered by scoring eight of the next 10 points to set the score at 52-45 heading into the final quarter.
UT went on another run, rattling off seven straight points to close the margin to 54-52 with 4:47 remaining in the game. A pair of jumpers by Bravo-Harriott were key to the rally.
The two teams went back and forth over the final three minutes until McIntyre scored on back-to-back layups to give Toledo a 60-59 advantage with 25 seconds left in the final quarter.
The Rockets locked down on defense during WMU’s next possession, and the Broncos had to foul Bravo-Harriott with 4.9 seconds left in the game. Bravo-Harriott knocked down both free throws to give the Rockets a three-point lead, 62-59.
Following a Western Michigan timeout to advance the ball to midcourt, the Broncos converted a corner three-point field goal just before the final buzzer sounded to send the game into overtime.
The Rockets went on a 3-0 run to start overtime, but the Broncos countered with back-to-back layups to put them in front, 66-65, at the 1:59 mark.
Bravo-Harriott stepped up and converted a layup on the next possession to give Toledo the advantage.
WMU converted on two free throw shots to take a lead 68-67 with 3.4 seconds left.
After advancing the ball to midcourt, McIntyre received the inbound pass from Boyd in the low post. She converted a layup to give UT the nail-biting win.
The Rockets will be back in action Feb. 21 when they host Eastern Michigan. Game time versus the Eagles is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Savage Arena and will stream live on ESPN3.