Feb. 22, 2014
MIAMI – With three double-digit performances from Marshall players, senior Suporia Dickens (Freeport, Ill.) and freshman Chelsey Romero (Hampton, Va.) led the way with 16 points apiece, followed by Leah Scott’s (Detroit) 13 for the Thundering Herd in a 77-66 losing decision at FIU, Saturday, at FIU Arena in Miami.
As Marshall dropped to 9-17, 2-11 in the league play, Conference USA newcomer FIU improved to 12-14, 6-7. The Golden Panthers remain undefeated in the series at 2-0.
For the first time since a 53-51 loss against Morehead State, Nov. 18, Marshall started the combination of Scott, AJ Johnson (Silver Spring, Md.), Erica Woods (St. George, Bermuda), Chukwuka Ezeigbo (Trenton, N.J.) and Dickens.
FIU opened the action with a 7-0 run, holding Marshall scoreless until 16:38 when Scott converted a layup. After a 9-4 run, the Herd tied the score for the first time at 11-11 with 14:11 to go before halftime. After three more ties over a five-minute span, a 10-3 run (with all 10 scored by Jerica Coley) gave the Panthers a 36-29 lead at 2:20, matching FIU’s largest lead of the half at seven points. Two Coley free throws sent the teams to the locker rooms with the Herd trailing, 39-33.
Coming out of the break, Marshall closed the gap to two points, down 39-37, after a layups by Scott and Romero. The teams traded field goals for the next few minutes until back-to-back jumpers made it 48-41 in FIU’s favor at 14:04. Romero hit two free throws to make it 48-43, but a 3-pointer by Taylor Shade gave FIU its largest lead of the game up to that point, at 51-43.
Late in the game, the Herd mounted a comeback with a 7-0 run over 2:30, with Dickens’ third three of the game and field goals by Scott and Ezeigbo to cut the Panthers’ lead to two at 57-55 with 6:30 on the clock. The margin was close for the next few minutes, but a 6-0 run gave FIU its first double-digit lead at 68-58 at 3:38. Marshall kept competing, scoring five unanswered points to make it 68-63, but the Herd would not come any closer to the Panthers’ lead than that. Tynia McKinzie was fouled on a layup and converted the extra point to put FIU up, 71-63. Dickens answered by hitting her fourth 3-pointer of the game at 1:51, tying her season high, but the Herd found itself in a losing situation, as FIU hit four free throws to end the game with its largest lead of 11, at 77-66.
Dickens ended with 16 points and 11 rebounds for her third double-double of the season, the fourth of her career. All three of Dickens’ double-doubles have been in Conference USA play (Tulane, Jan. 9 and Tusla, Jan. 25). She went 6-of-12 from the field and 4-of-6 from behind the arc, tying Marshall’s ninth-best single-game 3-pointer performance at 66.7 percent. Romero tied her career high of 16 points, going 6-of-8 from the field and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Scott followed with her 17th double-digit performance of the season at 13 points, going 5-of-12.
Despite shooting 43.6 percent from the field to FIU’s 39.7 percent, the Herd was outrebounded, 41-36, and lost the battle in the paint, 34-32. FIU put up 20 points off Marshall’s 18 turnovers, and the Herd converted only nine points off 13 Panther errors. The nation’s second-highest scorer, Coley, paced FIU with a double-double of 35 points, 15 rebounds and five assists.
Marshall will return home to host Florida Atlantic, Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. at Cam Henderson Center. For all the latest information about Marshall women’s basketball, follow @HerdWBB on Twitter.