Last week, the UT women’s basketball team split games by defeating Eastern Michigan 80-69 on Wednesday and lost to Ball State 78-73 on Saturday. The results put the Rocket record at 17-11 overall and 8-8 in Mid-American Conference play.
Fourth-year guard Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott scored 26 points, leading the Rocket offense, while third-year center Kaayla McIntyre registered 24 in the contest.
Third-year guard Mikaela Boyd tallied 14 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and five steals to post her ninth double-double on the year.
“Jay-Ann didn’t let the foul trouble bother her psyche at all,” UT head coach Tricia Cullop said. “She came in and gave us everything she had. She had a great shooting night as well. Boyd got a double-double and Kaayla had a strong performance again.”
As a team, the Rockets shot 54.5 percent (30-of-55) from the floor, including 41.2 percent (7-of-17) from beyond the arc and 54.2 percent (13-of-24) from the free-throw line.
Toledo had the advantage in rebounding, 36-34, and had three players with at least six boards.
In the first quarter, EMU took an early 22-17 lead off a trio of three-pointers. Bravo-Harriott helped the Rockets counter by knocking down two three-pointers and converting 10 points to keep the game close.
Toledo got to within a point, 24-23, early in the second quarter off three consecutive layups from Boyd. EMU answered by going on an 11-2 run to make the lead 35-25, with 4:33 left in the opening half in favor of the Eagles.
The Rockets ended the half with a run of their own, scoring 12 of the next 14 points to cut the deficit down to 37-36 at the half. McIntyre was front and center on a late surge with six points.
UT took the lead, 41-40, with 6:58 left to go in the third quarter, off five consecutive points by McIntyre.
The teams swapped leads three more times in the period, before the Rockets went on a 19-8 run to take a 62-54 lead with 6:51 left in the game. Bravo-Harriott led the burst with a pair of three-pointers and eight points.
EMU kept it interesting, pulling to within four points on two separate occasions in the fourth quarter, but the Rockets sealed the game with a 10-0 run to stretch the score to 76-62 with only 2:24 left on the clock. Bravo-Harriott led another rally with her fifth three-pointer and ended it with a layup.
Cullop said she was extremely proud of how hard the women fought and thought they did a better job in the second half.
"The first part of the game, we spotted them a nice little lead and we had to fight from behind and that got a little difficult with Jay-Ann getting in foul trouble," Cullop said. "Our kids never lost focus, and they never got shook. It’s tough when a kid like [EMU guard Danielle] Minott is having the game she had. I don’t know if I’ve seen a kid get that hot from the three-point line in a long time.
Against Ball State, Boyd led UT with a game-high 24 points, a contest-best 12 boards, three helpers and a game-high four steals to post her team-high 10th double-double of the year.
Bravo-Harriott added 19 points and McIntyre had 14 as the Rockets' two-game winning streak came to an end.
As a team, the Rockets shot 44.4 percent (28-of-63) from the field, including 29.4 percent (5-of-17) from three-point land, and 52.2 percent (12-of-23) from the charity stripe.
UT also won the battle on the glass, 38-36, and finished with 16 assists, 13 turnovers and 10 steals.
Jasmin Samz paced the Cardinals (23-4, 12-4 MAC) with 20 points, followed closely by Carmen Grande with 17 points and a game-high nine helpers.
Seven different Cardinals scored in the first period to help the home team assume a 24-18 lead after the opening 10 minutes. BSU took advantage of five offensive rebounds in the quarter, translating them into eight second-chance points.
In the second period, Ball State drained its first three three-pointers to extend UT's deficit to 45-33 at the intermission. Four different Cardinals buried a three-point field goal in the opening half to make it 12-point difference at the break.
UT's Bravo-Harriott, Boyd and McIntyre accounted for all but four points in the first half, as Bravo-Harriott led the way with 11, followed closely by Boyd and McIntyre with 10 and eight, respectively.
The Rockets pulled within six points, 56-50, at the 3:09 mark of the third quarter on the strength of a trio of layups from Boyd. The Parkside, Ill. native was able to penetrate the BSU defense and converted from close range to make it a two-possession difference.
Unfortunately for UT, Ball State countered with a mini 7-0 burst to push the margin back to double figures, 63-50, with 2:02 remaining in the third stanza.
Toledo notched the first five points in the fourth quarter on a layup by Boyd and a trey from Bravo-Harriott to make the score 67-59, forcing BSU to call a timeout with 8:56 left in the regulation.
The Rockets continued to fight back and completed the comeback, utilizing a 14-6 run over the next eight-plus minutes to set the stage for a dramatic ending.
Toledo had its chances in the waning seconds, but it missed three shots and had one turnover to set the final score at 78-73.
Toledo will travel to Northern Illinois (14-13, 6-10 MAC) on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Game time versus the Huskies is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. (CT) in Convocation Center and will stream live on ESPN3.