UCF Shocks Herd Women, 66-63|
Feb. 24, 2006
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Eight Francine Houston points down the stretch lifted UCF to a come-from-behind victory over Marshall, 66-63, in Conference USA women's basketball action at the Cam Henderson Center on Friday.
UCF (7-19, 5-10 C-USA) fell behind by seven points with just over five minutes remaining, but rode a pair of Houston 3-pointers and free throws to earn the season split with the Thundering Herd. Houston scored 16 of her team-high 19 points in the second half, shooting 6-of-11 from the floor.
Marshall's hopes of a first-round bye in next week's C-USA Tournament were shattered with Friday's loss, its third straight. Tulsa's win gave the Golden Hurricane the C-USA regular season title, while SMU, Rice and Southern Miss were all victorious to claim the No. 2-4 seeds and first-round byes.
The Herd (13-13, 8-7 C-USA) did not trail in the second half until Houston hit her third 3-pointer of the night at the 2:41 mark to put the Golden Knights up 62-61.
Marshall, held without a field goal for over two minutes, showed confidence in freshman Kendra King by going to her in the post. She delivered the Herd's final bucket of the game to pull MU within one, 64-63, with 1:53 remaining. After each team failed to score on its ensuing possessions, Marshall caught a break when Houston missed the front end of a one-and-one. With 11 seconds left, Sikeetha Shepard-Hall missed her second straight attempt, but Reshundra Smiley pulled down an offensive rebound. She dished to Crystal Champion who put up a 3-point attempt that was no good and rebounded by UCF's Keunta Miles.
After a Herd foul, Houston hit both her free throw attempts, forcing Smiley to put up a desperation 3-pointer to tie at the buzzer that fell short.
"We did what we needed to do to win, but it just wasn't enough at the end," Marshall coach Royce Chadwick said. "We have to play well in all facets of the game."
Marshall tied its season low with only 10 turnovers, matching its mark set against UCF in the Jan. 20 meeting that MU won 77-60. The lack of miscues wasn't enough to overcome poor second-half shooting, including a 0-for-10 mark from downtown.
For the game, MU shot 37.3 percent to UCF's 45.6 percent mark.
UCF, which trailed 34-33 at halftime, hit 13 of its 28 attempts from the floor in the second half (46.4 percent). Miles proved to be difficult to defend for the Herd. The junior forward went 8-for-11 from the floor for career-highs in points (18) and rebounds (9). Center Shelby Weber netted 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting.
Despite grabbing 18 offensive rebounds and scoring a 24-4 advantage in second chance points, Marshall could not escape its recent shooting woes. The Herd edged the Golden Knights on the glass, 47-35. Champion grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
Marshall's Michele Hagan tied her career-high with 13 points, adding six rebounds and a block. King also set a career mark with 10 points. Shepard-Hall struggled from the floor in the second half to finish 7-of-22 from the field. Her 23 points led all scorers, adding seven rebounds, two steals and an assist.
"Missed defensive assignments and not communicating with each other (is what led to the loss)," Shepard-Hall said. "Those things can't happen, they are what cost us buckets."
Marshall will try to regroup in time for a 1 p.m. tip-off on Sunday against Southern Miss on Senior Day. Shepard-Hall, Smiley, Champion, Hagan and Mary Pat Statler represent Marshall's five-woman graduating class. The quintet will be honored before the game.