EMU women fall to Toledo 80-73

Senior guard Desyree Thomas (Waterford) led the team in scoring after the first half but failed to add to her totals in the second half.

The Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team lost Wednesday night against the University of Toledo 80-73.

EMU falls to 14-10 on the season and 4-9 in the Mid-American Conference while Toledo improves to 13-11 and 8-5 in the MAC.

Cha Sweeney and Natachia Watkins led the Eagles with 18 points apiece. Watkins also contributed 10 rebounds as well, getting the double-double.

Olivia Fouty and Sara Stone also chipped in 11 points each along with seven and eight rebounds, respectively.

Toledo’s Inma Zanoguera scored 24 on 10-of-13 from the field, 2-for-3 from behind the arc and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line.

Other contributors were Andola Dortch with 14 points and nine rebounds, and Brianna Jones, with 14 points.

EMU head coach Tory Verdi said after the game that he was disappointed with his team’s effort on the glass and their physicality.

“I felt that Toledo came out and did a really good job of setting the tone of the game,” Verdi said. “They were physical, we didn’t match their physicality which was really disappointing from the start.”

Verdi went on to say that he didn’t think his team at first tried very hard on the glass at all and that they needed to do a better job staying focused.

“I felt for the first time in a long time I was coaching effort and that was disappointing,” Verdi said.
Toledo outrebounded EMU 50-36.

Verdi did give credit to his team in the second half and stated that they did improve as the game went along.

“I thought in the second half we did a better job paying attention to our assignments and flying around defensively and making things happen,” Verdi said. “In order to win against good teams in the MAC, you have to be consistent. You gotta play consistent basketball for 40 minutes. You can’t just pick and choose when to play.”

Verdi made clear his desire for more deflections and steals and how important they are for his team.

“We only had six deflections in the first half which is disappointing. We want to be up around 20,” Verdi said. “We got to be a little more active and make sure we do a better job communicating and covering our assignments.”

On offense, Verdi stressed that his team was executing fine, but they just needed to make their shots.

“We missed shots. We shot 36 percent from the field, but when you look at it, we missed 47 field goal attempts,” Verdi said.

The game started slowly for EMU. Toledo opened on an 8-0 run that led to an EMU timeout. EMU came back to tie it at 14 after a Fouty fast break layup.

The majority of the first half was close with EMU leading by one with 3:30 left after a Desyree Thomas free throw. It was EMU’s only lead of the night.

The Rockets closed the first half on an 11-4 run and led 35-29 at the end of the first half.

During the second half, Toledo mostly held EMU away by arm length. The Toledo lead stretched to 11 with 15:35 left after a Toledo free-throw.

EMU did go on a run with Watkins scoring 10 straight points that cut the lead to one with about 9:28 left.

Toledo then scored the next five points and they held off EMU the rest of the way to clinch the victory.

Eastern plays again on Sunday, Feb. 23 in Muncie, Ind. for a 2 p.m. tip-off against Ball State University.

Looking forward, Verdi says his team knows what to expect. He says that they are deep enough into the season that they know what to do, they just need to execute.

“The bottom line is execution,” Verdi said. “We are 24 games into the season, they know what to do. They need to execute offensively and defensively. They need to execute on both ends of the ball.”

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