Southern Methodist 91, Toledo 76
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) _ Claudia Brassard scored 20 points and Southern Methodist pulled away in the final seven minutes for a 91-76 upset of Toledo in the first round of the NCAA women’s Mideast Regional on Saturday night.
The 11th-seeded Mustangs (20-10) advanced to play Monday against host and No. 3 seed Georgia, which defeated Liberty 73-52 in the other first-round game at Stegeman Coliseum. The winner advances to the round of 16.
No. 6 Toledo (25-6) failed to take advantage of its highest seeding in six NCAA appearances as SMU scored 16 of its final 22 points from the foul line. Brassard, who also had 14 rebounds, led a balanced attack that included five players in double figures.
The Rockets fell behind for good when Jennifer Rigg hit a 3-pointer to give SMU a 28-25 lead with 7:24 left in the first half.
The Mustangs zealously guarded their advantage, which remained in single figures until SMU put together a 12-2 spurt after the Rockets cut it to 55-51 on Kim Knuth’s basket with 15:11 to go.
Brassard scored on the inside before Megan Woods and Nici Johnson hit back-to-back 3s to push the lead back to 63-51. After Jennifer Markwood briefly broke the run with a Toledo basket, Karen Blair scored on a short jumper and Johnson hit a 15-footer along the baseline to make it 67-53 with 11:24 remaining.
Behind Knuth, who led all scorers with 24 points, Toledo fought back to get within 69-63 before SMU clinched the victory by going 16-of-18 on free throws in the final 6:44. For the game, the Mustangs were 21-of-26 at the line and 8-of-20 from 3-point range.