Standout international players Naama Shafir (17 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds) and Inma Zanoguera (16 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds) led the Toledo Rockets to a 63-49 win over the Butler Bulldogs in their opening round WNIT matchup tonight. Daress McClung led the Bulldogs with 18 points but she struggled from the field on 6 for 17 shooting.
I openly mocked Butler's three point shooting proficiency in my game preview so naturally the Bulldogs came out against Toledo guns blazing. Butler averaged 27% from three going into the game but shot a brisk 42.9% tonight to help keep the game competitive. Taylor Schippers (12 points, 3-4 3PT) and Mandy McDivitt (12 points, 4-7 3PT) were dropping high arcing bombs from way deep all night.
Toledo never trailed in this one and dominated defensively, as usual, forcing 24 Butler turnovers. Butler had a hard time matching up with Yolanda Richardson as she scored 12 points in 36 minutes as the Rockets cleaned up inside the lane with 26 points in the paint. The Bulldogs got absolutely nothing out of their bench and were outscored by the UT reserves 14 to 3.
Toledo's second round game will be a home affair against the Youngstown St. Penguins this Saturday afternoon at 2 PM Eastern. The Rockets drew well below their average tonight with "only" 2,546 announced as the attendance so it will be interesting to see how they do this weekend as they fight for attention with the men's NCAA Tournament.