Rocket power was on display on Sunday afternoon at Savage Arena in Toledo, Ohio. For thirty six minutes, Toledo played its game against Central Michigan. The Rockets owned the paint and the offensive boards. They punished the Chippewas inside by forcing several offensive charging calls on would-be Central Michigan shooters. For a while it seemed like a Central Michigan attacker was pushed to the floor on every offensive possession.
Toledo guard Janelle Reed-Lewis was the player of the game. She put on a dominant offensive display knocking down three-point field goals and being brilliant inside to match her long range shooting. Reed-Lewis scored a dazzler from beyond the arc with 11:22 left in the game to put the Rockets up 58-49. It looked like the play that was going to send the Rockets home winners.
Then came foul trouble for Rockets' center Brianna Jones and forward Inma Zanoguera. With the two key Toledo players on the bench each with four fouls, Central Michigan crept back into the game. Niki DiGuilio and Taylor Johnson went from being cold to luke warm. Both started connecting on three-point bombs.
After a Taylor Johnson three gave the Chippewas their first lead in thirty-six minutes of play, Crystal Bradford took over. If it is possible to have a quiet 23 point, 12 rebound game, Bradford accomplished it. Crystal went about her business in the last four minutes of the game and led her team to victory.
The contest took on all of the disturbing elements of recent Chippewa victories. The Chips started out sluggish, trailed at halftime and were down by double digits midway through the second half. It is an odd formula for success.
Taylor Johnson overcame getting smacked around by Rocket defenders to score twenty three points for the visitors. The general feeling on the CMU side is probably relief at staying alive for the top seed in the MAC tournament. CMU improves to 15-1 in MAC play. Toledo drops to 8-8 in MAC play in what was arguably its best performance in a MAC game to date. One can only hope that the two teams will get to lock horns one more time in Cleveland in tournament play later this month.