March 30, 2011 – Playing in front of a packed arena for the first time in school history, Toledo’s women’s basketball team won its fifth consecutive game and jumped straight into a chance to play for the WNIT title.
Toledo came out strong and defeated visiting Charlotte 83-60 in front of 7,020 electrified fans. The Rockets earned a final home game Saturday, when they will host Southern Cal in the WNIT championship beginning at 3 p.m. ET. The game will be carried live on CBS College Sports.
Toledo led from start to finish Wednesday night, getting production from everyone, including all five starters who finished in double figure scoring. Naama Shafir led with 16 points and 9 assists, and teammate Andola Dortch had 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists.
The victory extended Toledo’s home winning streak to 17 games. The Rockets (28-8), who won the Mid-American Conference regular season title, collected their 28th win of the season, the most in school history.
Charlotte finished its season with a 27-10 record, the most wins ever for its program. The 49ers, playing in postseason for the ninth straight season, were playing in their first WNIT semifinal game. They were led by Kendria Holmes, who scored 14 points.
In Wednesday’s other semifinal game, Southern Cal continued its road dominance with a 63-36 victory over host Illinois State. Southern Cal will travel to Toledo to play the Rockets in the championship at 3 p.m. ET Saturday on national television.
Like Toledo, Southern Cal also led from the first basket of the game. Illinois State (24-11) closed the gap to eight points (30-22) at halftime, but the Trojans rolled from there. USC (24-12), with the most wins in a season since 1994, got 15 points and 7 rebounds from Jacki Gemelos to win its fourth straight road game.
Illinois State got 9 points and 8 rebounds from Emily Hanley, as the Redbirds made it to the WNIT semifinal round for the third straight year.
Wednesday, March 30
Toledo 83, Charlotte 60
Southern Cal 63, Illinois State 36