ROCKETS SHUTDOWN GOLDEN GRIZZLIES
December 11, 2010 – Senior forward Melissa Goodall led a quartet of Rockets in double figures Friday evening as the Toledo Rockets bested visiting Oakland University, 64-36. Toledo was looking to rebound from that humbling 102-69 loss to the Dayton Flyers on Dec. 5, and a win at home against a worthy opponent would be just what the doctor ordered.
Oakland motored to Toledo on the heels of an impressive 62-61 overtime home win against the University of Illinois on Dec. 8. The Golden Grizzlies were also looking to regain their mastery over the Rockets, having won seven of the previous nine games played between the schools. Last season Toledo earned an 87-75 road win over the Grizzlies back on Nov. 18, 2009 when Naama Shafir torched the Rochester, MI school for 36 points. Toledo’s only other win came at home in 2005.
Still smarting from their defensive lapses against Dayton, the Rockets came out and set the tone for Friday’s game by shutting Oakland down early and often. Led by Goodall and Jessica Williams Toledo broke out to a 15-1 lead before the Grizzlies scored their first field goal at the 11:44 mark.
With Goodall and Williams leading the charge Toledo finished the half leading 32-16, but that 16-point margin wouldn’t begin to describe the clamps that the UT defenders put on the Oakland shooters. The Grizzlies put up 24 shots in the first 20 minutes, finding the cylinder on just seven tries. From beyond the three-point arc, the visitors were a morbid 0-11.
The teams traded baskets to open the second half, but a 7-2 mini Toledo run soon had the Rockets in front, 41-20. The Midnight Blue and Gold continued to keep Oakland at bay, alternating an aggressive man-to-man defense with some very effective zone play, and it soon became evident that the visitors were not going to make a run at their hosts, not in this contest. On the opposite end of the court, the Rockets were having no problem extending their lead and when Anna Sonka hit a trey with just under a minute to play the score read 64-33.
Goodall led Toledo with 13 points and just missed a double-double in grabbing nine rebounds. Williams had 11 points; while Naama Shafir and freshman guard Andola Dortch each contributed 10 points. Shafir also had four rebounds and five assists. Dortch, who was a medical redshirt last season, played a strong 20 minutes and seems to get better with each outing.
“Tonight we had a lot of people contributing and that’s been missing in past games,” said Goodall. “We wanted to focus on transition defense because we know that they like to push the ball to get a lot of their points in transition. We knew we needed to slow down Calhoun (Sharise) to slow down their offense and it appears that we did that.”
Oakland had been averaging 44 percent in shooting on the season. Against Toledo the Grizzlies were just 11-of-50 for 22 percent.
Sophomore forward Bethany Watterworth had 13 points and nine rebounds to lead her team and tie Goodall for game honors in both categories. Watterworth, who had 29 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks in the victory over Illinois, was held to two points in the second half by the Toledo defenders.
“The thing that I was most proud of tonight was our defense,” said Toledo’s Tricia Cullop. “We really stressed that this week. After giving up 102 points at Dayton, I was pretty upset with our total effort. There wasn't a defensive category I was impressed with in that game. We really challenged our players in this game.”
Toledo also forced the Grizzlies into a season-high 23 turnovers.
Toledo native and Central Catholic graduate Sharise Calhoun who is a junior guard on the Oakland team had six points in the contest.
With Friday’s win the Rockets improve to 5-4 on the season and prepare for Big-10 opponent Indiana University. The Hoosiers make an appearance at Savage Arena this Sunday for a 2:00 pm game.