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Toledo’s ‘disappointing loss’ raises red flags

Toledo’s strong second-half performance couldn’t make up for its disappearing act to start the game, and the Rockets fell 64-55 to Ohio at home Wednesday.

Toledo Rockets Athletics

Toledo, OH — The Toledo Rockets fell 64-55 to Mid-American Conference foe Ohio Wednesday at Savage Arena after a failed comeback attempt to end the game.

“I think we had some open shots that we just missed tonight,” said center Kaayla McIntyre. “We usually make some of those shots that we miss so we just have to focus in and settle down to finish those shots.”

The Bobcats started out hot, leading the Rockets from the first minute of the game as Quiera Lampkins scored 14 points in the first 20 minutes of play. Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott came out strong for Toledo with a key play from downtown to give the Rockets their first and only tie of the game—14-14 near the end of the first; Ohio would win the period, though, up 20-17.

To start the second, Toledo’s offense struggled to find the net, and Ohio’s defense refused to let up with a great block by Jasmine Weatherspoon at the five-minute mark. Ohio forced 11 turnovers from the midnight blue and gold in just 10 minutes.

The Rockets didn’t have much of an answer for the Ohio’s fierce defensive performance, as their shots just wouldn’t fall, only hitting 37.9 percent (11-for-29) from the field. But Toledo’s Mariella Santucci gave the Rockets some hope as she sealed the half with a jumper to cut the Bobcats lead to only 32-26.

Coming out of intermission, it looked as if Toledo came to play a whole different ball game. McIntyre was the star, tearing up the boards with 11 points and four rebounds. Jada Woody followed McIntyre’s energy with a three-pointer, cutting Ohio’s lead to one at 36-35.

With Toledo hot on their trail, Ohio’s resilience persisted through the Rockets momentum, as Lampkins and Kelly Karlis hit the boards to help keep Ohio’s lead.

As the final quarter came around, Toledo lost Bravo-Harriott to the bench after a hard foul by Ohio’s Hannah Boesinger, who received a technical foul immediately.

McIntyre sunk three of her next four shots from the charity stripe, followed by a bucket from Michaela Rasmussen. The five-point streak gave the Rocket’s their largest momentum of the game as the crowd rose to their feet and Toledo began their full court press.

However, once again, Toledo’s energy was far from intimidating the Bobcats.

Ohio stretched their lead for one last time with a combined duo of a layup by Karlis and a bucket from behind the arc by Jenkins.

“It was a disappointing loss, there’s a lot of areas we can improve on both ends of the floor,” said Toledo head coach Tricia Cullop about her team’s performance. “We didn’t shoot it well, and we didn’t contain well…we just got to get better on both ends of the floor. We scrapped hard to get back in it and unfortunately couldn’t finish the deal, but I love the effort to fight back.”

Toledo finished shooting just 31.0 percent (18-for-58) from the field and 33.3 percent (5-for-15) from behind the arc, while their MAC opponent came out with 44.4 percent (24-for-54) from the floor and 58.8 percent (10-for-17) from the foul line.