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Herd Hangs On to Defeat Charlotte, 71-69

Junior Leah Scott

Feb. 15, 2014

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Junior Leah Scott (Detroit) produced a career-high 22 points to help lift the Thundering Herd over Charlotte, 71-69, Saturday, on Breast Cancer Awareness Day at Cam Henderson Center.

Marshall gained its second Conference USA win, as well as its second consecutive win at home, improving to 9-15, 2-9. Charlotte fell to 11-12, 5-5 with the loss.

“What a resilient effort by our bunch,” coach Matt Daniel said. “We’ve got a lot to improve upon, but we finally closed out a game. I was glad to see one go our way.”

Freshman Kiana Evans (Huntington) earned her first career start, creating the Herd’s 11th-different lineup this season. Erica Woods (St. George, Bermuda) also joined the group for the first time since Jan. 25. Seven of Marshall’s nine wins this season have come with different starting combinations.

Marshall jumped out to a 7-0 lead following layups by Woods and Evans and a 3-pointer by Suporia Dickens (Freeport, Ill.) at 17:57. However, the 49ers quickly erased their deficit, going on a 7-0 run over 2:43 to tie the score at 15:14. A three by Ciara Gregory gave Charlotte its first lead at 13:44, 10-7, but another Dickens trey created the game’s second tie. Chelsey Romero (Hampton, Va.) drove for a layup at 12:03 to put Marshall on top, 12-10, but a jumper by Alexis Alexander tied it up for the third time.

Over the next two minutes, Romero and Scott combined for six points to give Marshall an 18-12 advantage, but back-to-back threes by Gregory knotted the score again at 8:42. After a Scott layup broke the tie at 8:05, the Herd would not surrender the lead again. Marshall clung to a five-point lead at halftime, up 37-35. At that point, Marshall had converted 16 points off 10 Charlotte turnovers, and had held the 49ers to zero points off four Herd turnovers.

Coming out of the break, Marshall gained its largest lead of eight at 15:28 after a tit-for-tat battle spanning over five minutes, when AJ Johnson (Silver Spring, Md.) hit a three to give the Herd a 50-42 lead. Marshall stayed on top, going up by eight twice more, the latest being after a Romero layup at 4:53. Notably, that time would mark Marshall’s final field goal of the contest. From that point, Marshall went 7-of-8 from the free throw line, with three from Scott and four from Woods, to go up by five with nine seconds remaining, at 71-66. Charlotte’s Lefty Webster connected for a three with two seconds on the clock, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Herd held on to win, 71-69.

Despite being outrebounded, 43-35, Marshall had the offensive advantage in the paint, 38-28. The 49ers ended with 20 turnovers, off which the Herd converted 20 points. Marshall ended with 10 turnovers, with Charlotte only producing five points.

The Herd’s stat of the day came from the charity stripe, as Marshall had a season-best performance of 16-of-19 from the line for 84.2 percent. Scott went 7-of-8 from the foul line and 1-1 from long range, in addition to her 7-of-12 performance from the field, producing her career high of 22 points. She also added four assists, two steals and a career-best two blocks.

“Nobody feels sorry for us,” Daniel said. “If we had come out and laid an egg today, that goes in the right-hand column for my career.”

Next, Marshall is back on the road for a first-time meeting with Middle Tennessee, Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 8 p.m. ET. For all the latest information about Marshall women’s basketball, follow @HerdWBB on Twitter.