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UB women face MAC's top-rated defense in semifinal

CLEVELAND – The University at Buffalo women’s basketball team will try to overcome the top defensive team in the Mid-American Conference Friday.

Seventh-seeded UB meets sixth-seeded Toledo in a MAC Tournament semifinal at 1:30 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena.

Toledo (23-8) allowed the fewest points in the MAC (63.3 a game), and held opponents to the worst overall shooting percentage (.370) and the worst three-point shooting percentage (.242). The Rockets also forced the most turnovers in the conference (17.6 a game).

The Rockets defeated UB, 73-64, on Jan. 11 at Alumni Arena, despite the fact leading scorer Janice Monkana sat out the game with a leg injury. Toledo held UB to just 4 of 20 three-point shooting in that game and forced 19 turnovers.

UB (22-8) is coming off a big upset of second-seeded Ball State on Wednesday. Toledo knocked off third-seeded Kent State.

It's going to take another superb effort for the Bulls to advance. Even though Toledo has the sixth seed, it stands 59th in the Ratings Percentage Index, which factors record and strength of schedule. That's second highest among MAC teams. UB is 91st. Toledo scored an early season upset of Dayton, No. 32 in the RPI. It also lost by two to 15th-ranked UCLA.

Toledo was not a great offensive team this season, ranking eighth in scoring. The Rockets are the worst three-point shooting team in the MAC, hitting just 25.8 percent behind the arc and making a league-low 4.2 threes a game.

Like UB, Toledo relies on balanced scoring, with four players averaging in double figures. Monkana leads at 12.8 ppg, followed by Jay Bravo-Harriott (11.9), Mikeala Boyd (11.8) and Kaayla McIntyre (10.2).

No. 8 Western Michigan meets No. 4 Northern Illinois in the other semifinal at 11 a.m. The title game is 11 a.m. Saturday.

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