Cleveland, OH- Here are the Q, the seven seed, Buffalo Bulls women’s basketball team faced the six seed, Toledo Rockets. The Rockets beat the Bulls with a score of 72-65. Toledo’s leading scorer was Mariella Santucci with 21 points, and she played excellent defense as well. Mikaela Boyd made a huge impact in the game with ten points, 11 rebounds, and five assists.
The game started off very slow with only a collective three points for the first five minutes. Joanna Smith of the Buffalo Bulls, kick started the momentum with the first five points for the Bulls. The team fed off of her momentum, and gained a very noticeable energy throughout the arena. Toledo did not become threatened by this presence though, and fought vicariously. Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriot from the Toledo Rockets provided the much needed spark early to retaliate against Joanna Smith.
The Rockets shifted momentum early in the second quarter, and started to build a comfortable lead. Mariela Santucci from Toledo started to make an impact that almost swung momentum entirely, but Buffalo stayed put. Stephanie Reid from Buffalo, who was All-Mac Defensive team played extraordinary defense, and had two clutch layups to bring the game within reach. Joanna Smith struggled early while only shooting three for eleven, and having ten points in the first half.
The Rockets lead the game with a score of 34-27 at the half, and a huge part of this had to do with Mariella Santucci’s 15 first half points. Toledo did not stop in the second half, as they scored the first three buckets that they attempted. Bravo-Harriot hit a miracle and-one layup, and it felt like everything was dropping for the Rockets in the beginning of the second half. Throughout the whole third quarter, Joanna was continuously shooting poorly and Toledo kept a lead of nearly ten points.
The Rockets led the Bulls with a score of 51-39 at the end of the third quarter, and Santucci continued to play excellent defense on Joanna Smith. The Rockets kept the steady ten-point lead throughout most of the fourth quarter, until Courtney Wilkins hit a deep three to bring the Bulls within five. The Bulls maintained just a six-point deficit until the end of the game, but could never fully make a comeback. With this win, the Toledo Rockets will face the Northern Illnois Huskies tomorrow at the Championship.
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