March 7, 2009
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Chantelle Handy hit a jumper with three seconds remaining in overtime to send the Thundering Herd women's basketball team to the semifinals of the Conference USA Championship on Friday evening at Fogelman Arena.
Marshall (17-14) overcame an eight-point deficit with under four minutes remaining in regulation while holding UTEP (18-12) to just four points over that span.
Marshall outscored UTEP, 13-11, in the overtime period to take a 72-70 victory.
The Herd will face off against Southern Miss on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET in a game that will be broadcast on CBS College Sports.
UTEP opened up a quick 4-0 lead in the first minute of the game before Marshall roared right back to tie it up. Chantelle Handy and Tynikki Crook were the stars once again early on as they scored 10 out of Marshall's first 12 points.
With the Miners holding on to a 9-8 lead, they extended the advantage to 15-10 with 12:15 remaining in the half. Following that shot, though, the Herd defense clamped down, holding UTEP to just a point over the next 7:56 of playing time.
While points came at a premium, Marshall took advantage of its success on the defensive end to grab its first lead of the game. Following a bucket by Handy, Tania Walters, who hit just two treys entering the tournament, struck for the third time in two games from beyond the arc to make it a 16-15 game.
Marshall took its first lead of the game with 5:55 left in the period on a field goal by Keona Brooks. The Miners took the lead back just over a minute later as Fannie Goodwin ended the scoring drought for UTEP.
The lead changed four times over the final 4:19 of the half, but with the game knotted at 21-21 with 44 seconds remaining, the Miners closed the stanza on a 6-0
run to take a 27-21 lead to the locker room.
The Herd came out refocused after halftime and cut the deficit to two, 27-25, following shots by Casey Baker
and Alyssa Hammond
, before the Miners scored their first two buckets of the half to retake a six-point edge.
Conference USA Player of the Year Jareica Hughes scored six-straight points for UTEP while Sviatlana Trukshanina knocked down her second trey of the game to make it an eight-point game, 40-32, the largest lead for UTEP to that point. Trukshanina was the C-USA leader and second in the country, hitting 48.3% of her three-point attempts this season.
A 7- 2 run by Marshall would cut the lead to just a possession with 9:39 remaining in the game. Alyssa Hammond, who scored nine out of Marshall's first 14 points of the second half, got the run started by hitting a lay-up. After being fouled on the play, she hit the ensuing free throw. Crook connected on a lay-up and Hammond followed with her fourth field goal of the half to cut the deficit to three, 42-39.
The Miners stormed right back, doing its damage from the charity stripe, hitting eight consecutive free throws to push the lead to nine points, 50-41, with 6:12 remaining.
Up by eight, 55-47, with 3:16 left, Marshall put forth its best effort to continue its season. A three by Baker made it a five-points game, and after holding UTEP scoreless on the ensuing two possessions, Hammond and Crook scored on back-to-back
shots to cut the lead to one, 55-54.
The run did not stop there, following another UTEP miss, Casey Baker knocked down a long three on the other end of the floor to put the Herd back on top, 57-55. Marshall remained in the lead, 59-57, with under ten seconds remaining, until Jareica Hughes hit a lay-up to tie the game and send it to overtime. It marked the second-straight year the Herd went to overtime in the second round of the tournament.
Handy scored off of the tip to begin the overtime period before the Miners scored the next five to go up three, 64-61. Goodwin hit two free throws and Trukshanina followed it with her third trey of the night.
With the deficit still at three, 68-65, with 1:33 remaining, Handy connected on a three to tie it up and with 52 second left in the extra period, the Herd defense forced a missed UTEP shot and Crook converted on the other end to put the Herd on top.
UTEP came back to tie the score at 70 all with 26 seconds remaining. Handy fouled Jareica Hughes on a three-point attempts and Hughes hit 2-of-3 free throws. That left Marshall in position for the last shot. Freshman Tania Walters found Handy, who hit a jumper just inside the three-point line to give Marshall a 72-70 lead with three seconds left. UTEP gave it one last shot, attempting a three, but it bounced off the backboard as time ran out.
The win marked Marshall's first in five tries against the Miners.
Handy and Hammond scored 15 points apiece to lead Marshall while Crook finished with 13 points and ten rebounds. Goodwin had a great outing for UTEP, scoring 24 while grabbing 14 rebounds, both game highs.
Once again, Marshall finished with the advantage on the glass, outrebounding UTEP, 40-37. The Herd also outshot the Miners, .475-.365. The largest difference came in overtime as the Herd was 5-of-7 (.714) on its attempts in the extra period.
Marshall will look for a berth in the championship game when it takes on Southern Miss at 5:30 p.m. ET.