WNIT Round 3 Notes & Links: Illinois at Toledo
March 26, 2013
Setting the Scene
Inside the Match-up: The Illini advanced to the third round of the WNIT with a 62-54 win over Eastern Illinois at the Assembly Hall on March 25. Toledo defeated Youngstown State 61-43 on March 23. Illinois enters the game 18-13 overall after going 9-7 and tying for fifth place in the Big Ten. The Rockets are 29-3 with a 15-1 mark and regular-season championship in the Mid-American Conference. But Toledo lost to No. 4 seed Central Michigan, 66-61, in the MAC tournament semifinal and missed out on an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
Illinois Against Postseason Squads: The Illini are 5-1 against teams in the WNIT field and 3-7 against NCAA Tournament squads. Illinois was 2-0 this season against fellow WNIT team Minnesota, beat Memphis and lost to Illinois State. The Illini also beat Miami (Ohio) in the WNIT first round and Eastern Illinois in the second round. Among NCAA Tournament teams, the Illini beat Georgia, Nebraska and Iowa, and lost to Penn State, Purdue (twice), Texas Tech, Michigan, Michigan State and Colorado. Looking Ahead: The winner of the Illinois-Toledo contest will advance to the WNIT quarterfinals to face the winner of Thursday's Kansas State-Ball State game, which is being played in Manhattan, Kan. The quarterfinal contest will be played between March 30 and April 1 at a site and time to be determined.
Penn Reaches Milestone: Senior forward Karisma Penn became only the seventh player in Big Ten history to top 1,900 points and 1,000 rebounds with her 20-point outing against Miami (Ohio) on March 21. And with nine rebounds against Eastern Illinois on March 25, she passed Cindy Dallas for second on Illinois' all-time rebounding list with 1,023. Penn also passed Lisa Robinson for fourth place on the all-time scoring chart with her 19 points against the Panthers and now has 1,922.
Illini Do It With Defense: After allowing 67.3 points per game during the regular season, Illinois has cranked up the defense in the postseason. In two WNIT games, the Illini are allowing only 57.0 ppg and are holding opponents to 34.8 percent shooting after foes hit 42.1 percent during the regular season. Illinois also is continuing its season-long trend of forcing turnovers, averaging 24.0 turnovers forced and 12.5 steals per game in the WNIT.
Illini in the WNIT
Illini Against the WNIT Field
Scouting The Rockets
Toledo has an RPI of 39 according to WarrenNolan.com but a schedule strength of 185 out of 345 Division I teams. The Rockets were 1-2 against NCAA tournament qualifier Central Michigan, lost to NCAA tournament participant Dayton 79-76 on Nov. 14, beat WNIT participant Marquette 82-71 on Dec. 15 and beat WNIT qualifier Charlotte 76-66 on Dec. 29.
The Rockets had a 15-game winning streak from Jan. 13-March 6, sandwiched between a home loss to Central Michigan on Jan. 10 and a loss to the Chippewas in the MAC tournament on March 15. UT also won 11 straight games between an early-season loss to Dayton and the first loss to CMU.
Toledo has played stifling defense all season, allowing opponents to score only 51.2 points per game and holding foes to 50 or fewer points in 20 of 32 total games. UT holds a +4.4 turnover margin and averages 10.3 steals per game, while also out-rebounding its foes by 5.6 boards per game. Toledo leads the MAC in field-goal defense (.345) and is second in three-point defense (.278). The Rockets lead the league in rebounding margin and turnover margin, and rank second in steals and assists.
The Rockets have a balanced scoring team with fifth-year senior guard Naama Shafir leading the way with 12.9 points per game. Andola Dortch averages 10.7, Inma Zanoguera is at 10.1 ppg and Yolanda Richardson 9.4. Eight players average over 12 minutes per game and 10 have seen action in 26 or more games.
Toledo Series History
Last Time Out: Eastern Illinois | Highlights
Penn added nine rebounds, five blocks and four steals, and Moore also snagged four steals. GodBold had nine rebounds and Alexis Smith dished eight assists as Illinois recorded only its second win of the season when trailing at halftime as EIU led 29-26 at intermission.
Illinois held the Panthers to 35.7 percent field-goal shooting and limited EIU to 3-of-10 three-point shooting in the second half. The Illini salted away the game late, hitting 5-of-6 free throws in the final 40 seconds to seal the deal.