WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Ball State sees season end to Toledo in MAC Quarterfinals
Game was tied at halftime before Rockets ignite in second half
CLEVELAND – One team had to win the season series, so Mid-American Conference West Division rivals Ball State University and the University of Toledo played for the third time this season Wednesday afternoon.
But this time around, the MAC Tournament Quarterfinals, the stakes were higher. Though the Cardinals and the Rockets went into halftime tied, Toledo took control in the second half and ended Ball State's season, as the Cardinals fell 67-56 at Quicken Loans Arena.
After winning the first matchup of the season, the Cardinals lost the second consecutive game against the Rockets, this time with a little more at stake.
"We had the advantage of playing them recently and so we knew what they were trying to execute," Toledo coach Tricia Cullop said. "We knew we had to come out with a lot of emotion or this game could have gone either way."
The teams traded baskets in the first half as neither team led by more than four points and went into the locker room tied at 30.
Toledo senior forward Tanika Mays, a First Team All-MAC selection, was held in check in the first half, scoring only five points and grabbing three rebounds. But Mays got more scoring chances in the second half, finishing the game with 14-points. Sophomore guard Naama Shafir led all scorers with 18-points for the Rockets.
A slow start in the second half doomed Ball State as Toledo was able to jump out to an 11-point lead and led by as many as 16 points.
"I felt our preparation for the game was sound – I think we had trouble with our energy as the game went on," Ball State coach Kelly Packard said. "I tried to substitute a lot to counter that but Shafir was just too much when she would drive to the basket."
Junior guard Ty'Ronda Benning scored all of her 16 points in the first half for the Cardinals.
"[Toledo] didn't really do anything differently to me in the second half," Benning said. "I wasn't attacking the basket. I was settling for jump shots."
Senior guard Audrey McDonald finished with 13-points and senior forward Danielle Gratton finished with two points in their final collegiate game.
"I'm disappointed because it's what we do," Packard said. "It's tough to have the season end. But my hope is that we have invested in something other than basketball and I think that's what we did."