Big First Half Sends Toledo Past Milwaukee Women
Dec. 8, 2012
TOLEDO, Ohio - It was a tale of two halves, as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team outplayed the University of Toledo in the second, but an early deficit and a season-high 24 turnovers were too much to overcome in an 83-59 loss Saturday afternoon at Savage Arena.
The Panthers (4-5) allowed the Rockets (7-1) to get off to a quick start, scoring 52 points in the first half in trailing from the start. The victory helped UT continue its home dominance, improving to 61-8 on its home court since the start of the 2008-09 campaign.
"It was two different Milwaukee teams - the team that stepped out on the floor the first half wasn't as focused as I would have liked them to be," UWM head coach Kyle Rechlicz said. "Whereas, the team that stepped out there the second half was prepared, ready to go and played with a lot of energy and heart. And that has to be us consistently. We go through spurts where we play really hard and then there are spurts where we are still trying to figure it out. Once we get to that level where we play exceptionally hard all the time, we are going to be a great team."
Junior Angela Rodriguez led the Panthers with 13 points as a trio finished in double-figures. Senior Sami Tucker finished with 11 points and seven rebounds while junior Emily Decorah added 10. Freshman Avyanna Young also chipped in five points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
Naama Shafir led four Rockets in double-figures with 19.
"Toledo is a great team," Rechlicz said. "They have experience and are very good defensively. With that combination, we told the team before the game that the plan was to not dribble the ball so much. And we dribbled a lot on the first half - and not so much in the second. The combination of turnovers and Toledo being able to hit the shots at the start put us in a big hole."
Milwaukee trailed by as many as 31 on the day, but never gave up and battled throughout the second half. It used its three-point shooting - finishing with seven makes after halftime and an 11-for-25 clip in the contest - to outscore Toledo, 34-31, after halftime.
"I think a lot of that came from our bench," Rechlicz said. "We had a few players step up and it was nice to see them come to play and play with that heart. Macie Dorow again, consistently is playing as hard as she can. Sydney (Howard) came off the bench and gave us some incredible minutes."
The Rockets did come out and take over early, building a comfortable 27-point lead at intermission at 52-25. Not only did they shoot 55.6 percent (20-for-36) in the period, but they did an impressive job on the defensive side as well. They limited UWM to 33.3 percent (7-for-21) from the floor and forced 15 turnovers which they turned into a 13-0 advantage in points off turnovers by the break.
In fact, the 52 points that Toledo scored marked the most UWM had allowed since giving up 56 to Dayton back in December of 2009.
After an even start, the Rockets scored eight in a row to go ahead, 14-5, but a three by Rodriguez snapped that. The Rockets then used a 14-2 run to open the gap, taking a 33-15 lead on a pair of free throws at the 8:19 mark. The Panthers had all kinds of trouble holding on to the ball, with the Rockets getting out on the fast break after getting steals on top.
It doesn't get any easier for the Panthers next, heading to the Chicago Tuesday to take on DePaul. The matinee against the Blue Demons is set for an early 12 p.m. start to accommodate Chicagoland Field Trip Day.