Naama Shafir had a game to forget when the Toledo Rockets travelled to DeKalb at the end of January. She finished that contest with an uncharacteristicly low two points in 32 minutes of action during a 44 to 42 win that will go down as one of the least entertaining games of the UT women's season.
Today was a day for statistical revenge though and, despite a 11 AM tip-off time, Naama brought her best game to Savage Arena. Her 25 points, matching a season high for the senior guard, came on 7 for 11 shooting from the floor and helped pace the Rockets to an easy 72 to 40 win over the Northern Illinois Huskies.
The opening ten minutes of the game were a series of back-and-forth possessions with each team daring the other to actually make a basket. The rate of scoring was probably NIU's best chance to sneak out of Toledo with a win but, as the first half wore on, Naama began to make open looks and the Rockets pulled ahead and never really looked back. Toledo's other four starters didn't have much to do in this one although Yolanda Richardson did contribute nicely with 10 points and 4 rebounds in limited playing time.
Thanks to another lopsided score this was the second straight game in which the Rockets were able to get valuable playing time for their underclassmen. In particular, Toledo saw quality minutes from Stephanie Recker (5 points, 14 minutes) and Maria Carson (5 points, 3 rebounds in 8 minutes). It was nice to see Recker and Carson, as well as Ana Capotosto and Taylor Carver, see time on the floor. As the season winds down, and games start to have more at stake, the freshman and sophomores are going to see less action as Toledo tries to finally break into the NCAA Tournament with this senior class.
With that in mind, Toledo's next game is this Sunday at Central Michigan and is arguably the most difficult left on the Rockets' regular season schedule. A win in Mount Pleasant will go a long way towards securing Toledo's hold on the MAC regular season title and set them up nicely going into the MAC Tournament. Sunday's game starts at 2:00 PM and will be aired on SportsTime Ohio. I doubt Michael Reghi will be calling that one but we can always dream.