Toledo Knocks off Western Michigan 64-55

Updated 3/4/2000
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    CLEVELAND (March 3) -- Sophomore Courtney Risinger (Terre Haute, Ind./South) scored 17 points to lead the University of Toledo to a 64-55 victory over second-seeded Western Michigan University in a Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinal Friday at Public Hall.

    The third-seeded Rockets (14-14) advance to face regular-season champion Kent State University (23-5) in the championship game Saturday at 5:45 p.m. It will be the fifth straight time --- and the sixth time in the last nine years --- that the two teams have faced off in the MAC Tournament. Toledo, which will be making its seventh straight championship appearance, has won four of the five previous meetings, including a 65-50 victory last season. At least one of the two teams has made it to the tournament final each of the last 10 years.

    Western Michigan (18-11), the MAC West Division champion, never got into a rhythm against the tournament-experienced Rockets. MAC Freshman of the Year center Kristin Koetsier (Grandville, Mich./Grandville) picked up two early fouls and managed only eight points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field.

    Koetsier's counterpart, senior Jennifer Markwood (Perrysburg, Ohio/Toledo Christian) had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Rockets, while senior Adriane Bryant added 10 points.

    Toledo led 32-20 at halftime and went up by as many 18 at 48-30 with 9:44 remaining in the game. Western Michigan cut the lead to 58-50 at the 2:41 mark on a 10-5 run with all 10 points from 5-foot-5 sophomore twins Brooke and Brianne Gallert (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian).

    Senior Danielle Mueller (Lakewood, Ohio/Lakewood) paced the Broncos with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Brooke Gallert scored all 12 of her points in the second half. First-team All-MAC forward Shelsea Erving (Peoria, Ill./Woodruff), who had 23 points and 16 rebounds in Western Michigan's quarterfinal win over Ball State, was held to 10 points and three rebounds.

    "I thought we executed our plan to perfection," said Toledo Head Coach Mark Ehlen. "We did a nice job getting the ball inside. Jennifer Markwood played like a senior tonight and that was critical for us tonight."