Mikonowicz posts 12 points, 9 boards as Rockets earn share

TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo women’s basketball team clinched a share of its second straight Mid-American Conference Championship on Wednesday with a come-from-behind 64-60 win vs. Kent State at Savage Arena.

Rossford graduate Sammi Mikonowicz, a junior, scored 12 points and was one rebound away from her second straight double-double, finishing the night with nine,

The Rockets (24-4, 15-2 MAC), who extended their winning streak to 12 games, are MAC Champions for the 11th time in program history. It’s the second time they have won back-to-back titles, the first time being the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.

Toledo’s victory sets up an epic battle vs. Bowling Green (25-4, 14-3 MAC) at Savage Arena on Saturday, March 4 at 2 p.m. Should the Rockets win, they will clinch an outright MAC Title on their home court against their archrivals. Whichever team wins will get the No. 1 seed at next week’s MAC Tournament.

“Bowling Green is a very good team and they have had a good season too,” Toledo coach Tricia Cullop said. “If I’m a basketball fan in this area, I’m coming to this game. It’s going to be an incredible game. We’re looking forward to it.”

Setting up Saturday’s matchup was Wednesday’s thrilling comeback victory. Toledo opened the game on a 14-2 run, but Kent State (19-9, 11-6 MAC) ended the first half on a 32-13 run to take a nine-point lead into halftime.

The Rockets trailed by as many as 14 points in the third quarter, but came out energized and relentless in the fourth quarter.

After chipping away at the Golden Flashes’ lead for much of the period, senior Quinesha Lockett’s three-point play gave Toledo its first lead since the second quarter and shifted the momentum towards the Midnight Blue and Gold.

UT took the lead for good with 1:11 to go, capping its third double-digit comeback win in the last 10 games.

“I thought Kent State came out with a great gameplan,” Cullop said. “They went on a tear in the second quarter and we didn’t have an answer.

“At halftime we talked about how we had come too far to come up short. We had every opportunity in front of us and we had to go and take it. It wasn’t a pretty game, but it was a great comeback, and our maturity is a big reason why we were able to win a game like this.”

Lockett led the charge with a game-high 24 points, 16 of which came in the second half. The Omaha, Neb. native also moved into fifth place on Toledo’s all-time scoring list with her performance, passing Rocket great Naama Shafir (1,874 points).

Joining Lockett and Mikonowicz in double figures was senior Sophia Wiard (10 points), and junior Nan Garcia (10 points) and Garcia tied her season-high with eight boards.

Toledo shot 83.3% from the free throw line (20-of-24) and was 13-of-15 in the fourth quarter. Kent State was led by Katie Shumate’s 19 points and Casey Santoro scored 11.