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Capotosto comes up big for UT

02/16/2014, 12:54am EST
By DAVID BRIGGS BLADE SPORTS WRITER

UT overcomes shooting struggles to beat Ohio.


Toledo’s Inma Zanoguera snags a rebound over Ohio’s Lexie Baldwin (10) and Quiera Lampkins. Zanoguera had 12 points.

On a day in which the shots didn’t fall, in a home that hasn’t been so sweet lately, Ana Capotosto felt strangely confident as she set free the biggest shot of her season on Saturday afternoon.

Never mind the University of Toledo women’s basketball team was tied late with staggering Ohio — staring at a potential third straight loss at Savage Arena and the first to the Bobcats there since 1987. Or that the Rockets’ best shooter had missed 13 of her last 15 3-point attempts in this gym.

“I just wasn't feeling much pressure for some reason,” Capotosto said. “You’ve just got to let it fly.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view photos of the game.

She did, and a crowd of 4,692 that had waited weeks to detonate had their chance as Capotosto’s skyscraping 3-pointer with 1:01 left helped Toledo rally to a 62-58 win.

Trailing 53-49, the Rockets set off on a deciding 12-2 run, with the sophomore guard’s shot from the left wing putting the hosts in front for good at 58-55.

Inma Zanoguera and Angela Dortsch each had 12 points to lead Toledo (12-11, 7-5 MAC), which earned its third straight win overall but first at Savage Arena since Jan. 26 against Ball State. Janelle Reed-Lewis added 11 points and reserve Janice Monakana had 10.

Ohio, led by a game-high 17 points from guard Mariah Byard, dropped its eighth game in a row and 22nd straight contest at UT.

“Coming from two straight losses at home, we were really hurt,” Zanoguera said. “Today was huge for us, and we just want to keep the momentum going.”

With UT’s players and and fans wearing pink for the sixth annual “Rockets for the Cure” game to benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Northwest Ohio, the late run ensured a feel-good finish to an uneven performance.

Facing a Bobcats team that starts two freshmen and three sophomores, Toledo shot 24.2 percent from the field in the first half and became locked in a back-and-forth stretch run. The second half featured seven lead changes.

In all, it was another puzzle of a shooting day for a Rockets team that shot 19 of 42 from beyond the arc in their previous two games and 4 of 41 in the two games prior. Toledo on Saturday shot 36 percent overall and made 3 of 10 from 3-point range.

Yet the Rockets’ struggles for much of the day only made coach Tricia Cullop prouder of the finish.

Nobody embodied the team’s unflagging confidence more than their sharpshooter. Who cared that Capotosto, who finished with nine points, had missed her first two 3s? She is shooting a team-high 39 percent from long range and, as Cullop said, “her job is to make shots for us.”

“With a shooter, you always want them to think their next shot is going in,” Cullop said. “They need to have a bad memory — unless they were hitting a bunch. If you’re a great shooter, you need to have the confidence to take the shot no matter the situation, and I love the fact that she's not afraid.”

She added: “We were were struggling there hitting shots for a while, but I was really proud of them for digging deep and finding a way at the end. Ana's shot really took the wind out of them a little bit.”

Contact David Briggs at: dbriggs@theblade.com, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @DBriggsBlade.

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