TOLEDO, OH - What a difference a season makes. Toledo (1-0) raced out to an early double-digit lead and claimed a 61-51 season-opening victory over Dayton on Sunday before 3,467 fans in Savage Arena. On Dec. 5, 2010, the Flyers (1-1) shot almost 60 percent from the field and scorched the Midnight Blue & Gold, 102-69, in UD Arena.
Today marked a complete 180 degree turnaround from that December afternoon, as UT held a talented UD offense to 26.8 percent (15-of-56) shooting from the field, including 15.0 percent (3-of-20) from beyond the arc. Toledo also forced the 2011 NCAA participants into 24 turnovers and took six charges.
Offensively, sophomore Andola Dortch paced the Rockets with a game-high 17 points, to go along with seven rebounds and four steals. Senior co-captain Naama Shafir also contributed 16 points, a game-high five assists and four thefts to give the 2010-11 Mid-American Conference regular-season champs their third season-opening victory in four years under Head Coach Tricia Cullop.
Other top performers for the 2011-12 MAC preseason favorites included junior Yolanda Richardson with eight points, seven caroms and two blocked shots and senior Courtney Ingersoll had seven points, six rebounds and three steals.
The 2011 WNIT champions led the entire way and raced out to an early 10-0 lead, taking advantage of three-point field goals by Dortch and Shafir.
Dayton did not score until Justine Raterman converted a layup with 13:43 left in the opening period.
The Rockets continued to play with a lot of confidence as the first half wore on and received back-to-back treys from Dortch to make the score 22-5 at the 8:02 mark.
UT's lead grew to as many as 22 points, 31-9, in the waning moments of the first period, before settling for a 31-13 cushion at the intermission.
In the second half, Toledo's margin remained in double digits until the visitors utilized a mini 6-0 burst to close the gap to 50-41 at the 5:38 mark. De'Sarae Chamber and Raterman each knocked down triples to make it a three-possession difference.
Fortunately for the home team, they countered with a deep three-point field goal from senior Haylie Linn to push the lead back up to double digits.
Toledo then sealed the season-opening victory at the charity stripe, converting 6-of-8 over the final 1:25 to extend its home win streak to 19-straight games.
Raterman led the Flyers with 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Local product Patrice Lalor also tallied double figures with 10 points and a team-high four assists.
Toledo returns to action on Wednesday, Nov. 16 when it travels to Green Bay, WI to battle Horizon League power UW-Green Bay. Tip-off will be at 7:00 p.m. (CT) in the Kress Events Center.
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