The Toledo Rockets had strong first and fourth quarters on offense and held it down defensively in-between to take down their I-75 rival Bowling Green Falcons en route to their first MAC Tournament Championship since 2017, taking victory by a final score of 73-58 on Saturday afternoon. It was the Toledo’s 16th straight victory— and mission complete in getting revenge for their January loss to BG.
Tricia Cullop’s squad set the tone immediately, going on a 12–0 run over the first four minutes of the game. Toledo took a 23–12 lead at the end of the quarter behind senior guard Quinesha Lockett, who had eight of her team-high 17 points during the period. The Rockets offense slowed down in the second quarter but continued solid defense to take a seven point lead at the break. Sophomore forward Jessica Cook was also a force in the first half, scoring 10 points on perfect shooting. She’d finish the game with 16.
Bowling Green continued to battle and stay in the game to start the third and stepped up physically, forcing several Toledo turnovers and missed shots. Sophomore guard Amy Velasco put in a good defensive shift off the bench, amassing four steals for the Falcons.
Ultimately, trouble on offense sank Bowling Green on Saturday. No Falcon shot better than 50 percent from the field, including Allison Day, who finished with a game-high 18 points on 8-of-17 shooting. Overall, the team shot 35.4 percent from the field, well below their 43.8 percent average for the season.
Although Toledo lost the turnover battle, they were able to get the job done with efficient shooting, while also drawing fouls and grabbing defensive rebounds. They took over the fourth quarter and went off for 25 points in the final frame. With four minutes remaining, Quinesha Lockett all but sealed her team’s trip to the NCAA Tournament with a corner three to put Toledo up 20, sending the Toledo faithful into a frenzy.
It was an off-day and a tough end for the Falcons who finished the season with a 27–6 record. Robin Fralick’s Falcons will look to break Bowling Green’s 12-year MAC Tournament Championship drought next season.
The Rockets, on the other hand, await their NCAA Tournament seeding and opponent on Selection Sunday. They’ll look to ride the momentum of their giant win streak to make noise in the Big Dance.