Rockets reach semifinals in 67-56 win over Ball State

No. 2 seed Toledo (23-7) made it to its third consecutive Final Four appearance in the MAC Tournament with a 67-56 win over No. 7 seed Ball State (14-17).

The Rockets struggled early in the first half, and their turnovers resulted in five points for the Cardinals. For the next six minutes, the teams went back and forth with buckets, each never having more than a three point lead.UT got a four point lead, 20-16, with a layup from sophomore Naama Shafir and a trey by sophomore Courtney Ingersoll.

Although the Rockets would not trail the rest of the half, BSU's Ty'Ronda Benning scored nine-consecutive points to tie the score 30-30 before intermission.

Toledo went on a 15-6 run after halftime, kicked off by a pair of threes by junior Jessica Williams.

The Rockets outscored the Cardinals 37-26 in the second half, owing much to their defense that held BSU scoreless for a period of more than three minutes.

They hit six of their first 10 shot attempts and made five of six from the free throw line.UT TMs 12-5 run increased the lead to double digits, 62-49. The lead never fell below 10 points the rest of the game.

The Rockets shot 54.2 percent (13-of-24) from the field in the final 20 minutes, including 50.0 percent (3-of-6) from three point range, and 80.0 percent (8-of-10) from the foul line.

Senior Tanika Mays and junior Melissa Goodall added 14 points each and Shafir led UT with a game-high 18 points and seven assists. Together the three combined for 46 of the team TMs points.

Both teams competed for the boards but UT edged out 34-33. The Midnight Blue and Gold recorded 17 assists and 16 turnovers in the win.

Benning led BSU with 16 points, all coming in the first half.

Audrey McDonald contributed 13 points and Emily Maggert had 12 points for the Cardinals. Ball State made 22-of-60 (36.7 percent) field goals and hit 5-of-22 (22.7 percent) from beyond the arc.

The Rockets will now play of the winner of No. 3 seed Kent State and No. 6 seed Central Michigan in the semifinals Friday, March 12 at noon.