Basketball

Women’s basketball ventures to Toledo for the regular season finale on Saturday

Women's basketball ventures to Toledo for the regular season finale on Saturday

KALAMAZOO, Mich – The West Michigan women’s basketball team wraps up the regular season this Saturday when it travels to Toledo, Ohio for a morning matchup between two tournament-related teams. The Savage Arena tip-off on March 5 is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will feature the Mid-American Conference’s first and third defenses.

WHERE TO LOOK

Saturday’s game between the Broncos and Rockets will be available to stream via ESPN+. The link to the stream is listed above and can also be found HERE.

LOOK AT TOLEDO (24-4, 18-1 MAC)

The Rockets host Western Michigan after a home win over the visiting Northern Illinois Huskies by a final score of 74-56. Toledo finished the first half on a 20-0 run which ended up being the difference in the competition.

Three UT players finished in double figures in the win. Junior guard Quinesha Lockett and freshman forward Jessica Cook each finished with 14 points on 6-10 shooting, while Cook had eight rebounds and Lockett had five rebounds, in addition to three assists and two interceptions. Junior guard Sophia Wiard contributed 10 points on a 4-8 shot, along with seven pennies and five boards to round out Toledo’s double-digit effort.

As a team, the Rockets are first in the Mid-American Conference and averaging 71.8 PPG on 43.2 percent shooting. Toledo is also the conference leader on defense, limiting opponents to 59.8 PPG on just 36.5 percent shooting for a conference-best +12.0 scoring margin. Additionally, UT loses 31.0% of their looks on three and 74.8% of their tries at the foul line for an average of 6.8 triples made and 12.8 triples made each time they take the ground.

On the glass, Toledo grabs 41.0 team rebounds and a MAC-best DRPG of 29.32, while posting conference-leading rebound margin (+6.21), assist ratio on turnover (+1.22) and a defensive rebound percentage (.744). The Rockets are delivering 14.3 assists per game and 12.8 turnovers per game in addition to 6.1 steals per game and 3.3 blocks per game.

Leading the Rocket’s offense this year, Quinesha Lockett is seventh in the MAC with 17.7 PPG on an even shot at 40%. Lockett also catches 5.8 boards per game and knocks down 81.5% of his chances from the free throw line. Sophia Wiard is also a big part of the Rocket’s offense, averaging 12.7 PPG from 46.4 percent from the field while ranking fourth in the MAC in assists per game (4.41) and second in assists per game. free throw percentage (0.852).



WHAT TO EXPECT FROM WESTERN MICHIGAN (16-12, 10-9 MAC)
The Broncos enter Savage Arena on Saturday after clinching their berth in the MAC Tournament with a win over Eastern Michigan last Wednesday by a final score of 68-52. The win also secures the Michigan Battle of West Michigan championship this year thanks to a season-perfect sweep against Central Michigan and East Michigan. The 4-0 gap is the first for WMU since 1995-96 when coach Pat Charity was at the helm.

Against the Eagles, three Broncos finished with double-digit performances, trailing by 18 points on 7-14 shooting and five rebounds from the second-year guard Lauren Ross. Second Striker Red Shirt Taylor Williams was one rebound from his ninth double-double of the season with 13 points on 6-13 (46.2%) from the field to go with nine rebounds, while the senior guard Maddie Watters conceded 4-6 (66.7%) from beyond the arc for 12 points to it. WMU finished with just nine turnovers, marking the second time this season the team has finished with single-digit errors.

As a unit, the Broncos are averaging 65.8 PPG on 40.9 percent shooting while holding opponents to 62.7 PPG, which is third-lowest in the conference. WMU cashes 32.5% of its triples and 68.4% of the charity stripe for an average of 7.3 triples and 11.5 free throws per contest. Western Michigan is also averaging 12.9 assists per game, posting a +0.9 assist-to-rotation ratio and averaging 9.0 steals each time. Looking ahead, WMU is mathematically guaranteed a spot in Cleveland for the conference tournament thanks to successful head-to-head matchups with Ohio and Kent State this year.

The Broncos have been trailed offensively this season by Lauren Ross, who ranks sixth in the MAC in scoring and field goal percentage with 18.22 PPG on 43.6 percent shooting and 34.4 percent from three-point range. Ross is also seventh in free throw percentage (.807) and leads all MAC sophomores in all three categories. The tandem before Taylor Williams and senior red shirt Reilly Jacobson have also been huge, with the pair each averaging 11.7 PPG and combining for 12 double-doubles this season.



ON THE HORIZON
After Saturday’s game against Toledo, the Broncos await an announcement of their next opponent and playing time in the conference tournament. All tournament information will be communicated to fans as it becomes available. Stay up to date on all the post-season news by following the team on Twitter and Instagram @wmu_wbb, or on Facebook by searching “Western Michigan Women’s Basketball”. Conference tournament updates will also be posted on www.wmubroncos.com.

Tickets for MAC tournament games are available at www.wmubroncos.com/tickets or by calling 1-888-4-WMU-TIX. We look forward to seeing you all in Cleveland!

#LetsRide