Feb. 15, 2008
Box Score |
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - When her team needed her most, senior Kizzy Hart responded with the game of her career, setting career-highs with 25 points and ten rebounds to lead the Thundering Herd women's basketball team to a 71-64 win over UCF Friday evening at the Cam Henderson Center.
With Meg Withrow and Tynikki Crook out of the lineup, Hart picked up the slack, registering the first double-double of her Marshall career. She finished with three steals, an assist and a block while connecting on ten free throws, also a new career mark. Her play in the second half was pivotal to the win as 17 points and nine of her rebounds came in the latter half.
"I know my team needed baskets. They kept getting me the ball, I was just trying to get open shots, and I was," Hart said. "They just kept going in."
The win ended a three-game losing streak for Marshall (13-12, 5-6 C-USA), while the loss marked the sixth-straight for UCF (8-16, 1-10 C-USA).
Several times throughout the first half, it looked as if the Herd was going to put the game away, but the Knights had other ideas. Marshall recorded the first five points of the game, started by a trey from Hart and a lay-up by Casey Baker but UCF came right back, reeling off six-straight to take their first lead of the contest.
After swapping the lead back-and-forth, Marshall found itself up 13-12 seven minutes in. That would grow to 11 points just two minutes later, thanks to a 10-0 run fueled by three Casey Baker lay-ups. In similar fashion to the earlier meeting in Orlando, UCF did not let Marshall out of their sights, scoring the next seven points to cut the lead to four.
Though the Herd went back up by nine, the Knights got as close as one point with 2:06 remaining in the half. Buckets would be swapped by both teams in the final minutes of the half as Marshall would take a four-point lead (37-33) into the locker room.
UCF gained some confidence with its play at the end of the first stanza and carried that into the second half, tying the game at 37 just over a minute in. At the 16:59 mark, a lay-up by Emma Cannon gave UCF a 39-38 lead, its first since the opening moments of the match.
With the Knights up 44-42 at the 13:47 mark, a bucket by Kendra King started a 9-0 Herd run that would prove to be the difference in the game. King combined with Kizzy Hart to account for all nine points. Just three minutes later, King and Hart sent the Herd on another 9-0 run, and again, were responsible for all nine points. That run put MU up 65-50 with 5:21 left in the game.
The Knights would still not relent, cutting the lead to six points on two difference occasions, but it would not be enough as Marshall hit its late free throws to finish off UCF and come away with the 71-64 victory. The win marked the first for MU since topping UCF in Orlando on January 31.
While Hart was the only Herd player in double figures, several others put forth admirable efforts. Alix Barnette chipped in nine points, including a 7-of-7 performance from the foul line. Chantelle Handy finished with nine points and six boards while Casey Baker registered eight points and five rebounds.
Without its top center, Marshall still managed to out-rebound the Knights by a 45-38 margin. Hart tied Emma Cannon with a game-high ten boards. The foul line played an important role as the Herd hit 26-of-35 free throws, compared to an 8-of-17 performance from the Knights.
Cannon notched a double-double for UCF with 11 points and ten rebounds. Marshay White led the Knights with 15 points and four helpers.
The win ended a 1-6 slide that saw MU's record go back to .500 for the first time since early December. Head coach Royce Chadwick emphasized the importance of playing at home and also touched on how the energy from the home crowd became a factor. ""I thought our crowd made all the difference in the world. I thought our crowd carried us when it wasn't going well. I think they give us a great deal of energy," Chadwick said.
"We haven't had four straight home games all year so we were really looking forward to this stretch today. The good thing about a win, is that it gives you a little bit of confidence and it gives you a shot in the arm. It gives you momentum going into the next game."
The Herd is hoping that the momentum from tonight's win carries over into its next game, which will be on Sunday against Southern Mississippi. The Golden Eagles took the meeting in Hattiesburg two weeks ago by a score of 77-51. They enter Sunday's match with an identical 5-6 C-USA record following a 68-63 loss Friday night at East Carolina.
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