If you listened to the game via the Toledo Rockets audio feed, you heard the announcer say at a few points that someone “left some chicken on the bone.” This phrase accurately and unfortunately describes the way that the ladies played this afternoon. There were a lot of chances, but they weren’t able to capitalize.
The Dukes had an excellent finish to the first half, using much of the second quarter to get back into the game, including an impressive string during the last three-plus minutes that included no field goals for Toledo. Amanda Kalin and Laina Sole combined for 16 points by the end of the half and were at the top of the list of “Reasons why the Dukes Were Still In It.”
They would go on to finish with 11 and 15 respectively in an excellent effort off of the bench.
When I was taking notes for this article, I was going to say “the uneven start to the third quarter.” Sadly, as the half unfolded, that uneven start turned into an uneven quarter and ultimately an uneven half.
It began with Omogrosso’s foul troubles. Duquesne’s leading scorer was having trouble finding rhythm as it was and having to duck out due to her fouls didn’t make things easier.
Early opportunities resulted in unfortunate turnovers for the Dukes instead of points. Still, the Dukes hung tight and it appeared that Sole’s layup to tie it late in the quarter was going to be a turning point. It was, but not in the way that you’d like.
The Turning Point
After Sole tied it, the Rockets went on a 12-3 run to finish out the quarter, putting the Dukes almost right back where they started at the beginning of the 2nd.
Player of the Game
At the risk of being obvious, I have to go with Laina Sole. She gave a good 28 minutes and her 15 points were badly needed. While the team didn’t ramp up on it, her bucket to tie it was vital in the moment.
When I Knew it was Over
Late in the 4th, a few Rockets offensive possessions ended in offensive rebounds, a new shot clock, and of course less time for Duquesne to find a way to claw back in.
Credit Where its Due
Mariella Santucci was the player of the game for Toldeo and boy, she played quite a game. In general, Toledo kept composure when Duquesne started to get back into the game and responded. Not a lot of teams can do that, but the Rockets managed it.
Also props to Mikaela Boyd, who didn’t light up the scoreboard but certainly was an enabler for Toledo. I felt like I was hearing her name a lot during the broadcast and a quick look at the stat sheet shows why – seven assists. Two of those assists and two of her points came during the run to close out the third quarter.
The ladies don’t quite have everything together just yet. It’s tough to win when your leading scorer has an off-day and can’t get into a rhythm. Luckily, there is a lot of non-conference play yet to come before the Dukes have to worry about positioning themselves for a run in the Atlantic 10 – and with three losses already, they have a bit to prove to live up to their potential.