Toledo makes 1st trip to NCAAs since 2001, beats NIU 82-71

CLEVELAND (AP) - Mikaela Boyd scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and No. 6 seed Toledo beat fourth-seeded Northern Illinois 82-71 on Saturday in the finals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament for the Rockets' first trip the NCAA Tournament since 2001.

Olivia Cunningham added 20 points for Toledo (25-8), who took down defending MAC Tournament champion Buffalo in the semifinals. Mariella Santucci had 13 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Cunningham cut backdoor and made a layup with 4:17 left to extend Toledo's lead to 66-56. Ally Lehman kept NIU close by scoring on three straight possessions to make it 70-62 but the Huskies couldn't get stops at the other end.

Boyd made a steal in the backcourt, was fouled and hit two free throws with 1:48 to go for a 12-point lead.

Lehman led Northern Illinois (21-11) with 22 points, six rebounds and six assists.

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