Women’s basketball preview

December 11th, 2018 Posted in The Rockets

Toledo made its seventh post-season appearance in 10 years under head coach Tricia Cullop in 2017-18, advancing to the second round of the Postseason WNIT.

Kaayla McIntyre

The Rockets will look to build off last year’s postseason run in 2018-19 and seek to capture their second Mid-American Conference championship in the last three years.

“Every year, our goal is to challenge for a MAC title and get back to the NCAA Championships,” said Cullop, who is currently fifth in league history in overall winning percentage (220-111, .665) and ninth in conference winning percentage (116-54, .682). “Our returners know how special that was in 2017, and I would love to see our seniors experience that feeling for the second time in their careers.

There is plenty of optimism within the Rockets’ program for that to happen in 2018-19.

Mariella Santucci

“We return a lot of production from last year, so we’re optimistic about this season,” Cullop said. “We shared the ball well last year and were one of the top teams in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio, but in order for us to reach our goals, we have to improve our free throw percentage and three-point field-goal percentage. We have addressed those issues with skill work in the off-season and with the addition of our incoming class.”

UT returns nine letter-winners in 2018-19, including four starters from last year’s squad, which posted an 18-15 overall record and an 8-10 ledger in the MAC. The Rockets welcome back 66.7 percent of their scoring, 69.3 percent of their rebounding, 76.0 percent of their assists, 78.2 percent of their blocks and 83.5 percent of their steals.

“We return four starters, have more size than we’ve had in the past 10 seasons, and added speed, as well as a couple three-point threats to this year’s roster,” Cullop said. “I expect our team to be quicker up and down the floor in transition and become a more potent offensive team as well.”

Mikaela Boyd

Spearheading that effort for the Midnight Blue & Gold this season will be senior Mikaela Boyd (Hillside, Ill.), senior Kaayla McIntyre (Toledo, Ohio) and junior Mariella Santucci (Bologna, Italy).

“These three players stepped up and took on a lot of leadership responsibility,” Cullop said. “I’ve been very impressed with their focus. Mikaela and Kaayla really want their senior years to be successful, and Mariella, after playing a lot of minutes in her first two seasons, can really help mentor our new players.”

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