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Herd Makes History, Advances to C-USA Second Round

Junior Chukwuka Ezeigbo recorded the fifth double-double of her career.

March 11, 2014

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EL PASO, Texas - Suporia Dickens (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Chukwuka Ezeigbo (17 points, 11 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles to help 16th-seeded Marshall rally past ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic, 80-73, in the opening contest at of the 2014 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championships at Memorial Gym Tuesday afternoon. The Thundering Herd (11-19) advance to the second round to face No. 8 UAB at 11 a.m. MDT Wednesday.

The Owls (16-14) were up by five at the break (34-29) and looked to be in good shape, leading by 11 (60-49) with 10:58 to play in the contest. MU had other ideas, though, unleashing a 17-2 run over the next 5:31 to surge into the lead at 66-62.

FAU, which was 10-of-42 from three-point range to obliterate the C-USA Championship record for three-pointers attempted (38, Tulane at SMU, 3/3/06), struck back with a 5-0 run to climb back ahead, 67-66, with 4:17 to play.

Marshall was not to be denied, however, closing out the contest on a 14-6 push to complete the rally.

The Thundering Herd nailed 49.2 percent (29-of-59) from the floor while also dominating the boards, 51-40. Chelsey Romero (11 points, six rebounds) also reached double figures in scoring while Norrisha Victrum pitched in nine points and three assists.

FAU's Takia Brooks poured in 25 points while 2014 Second-Team All C-USA honoree Kimberly Smith recorded a double-double (20 points, 11 rebounds) to lead the efforts for FAU. Shaneese Bailey added 11 points and seven boards but the Owls were unable to overcome an off shooting day. They connected on 33.8 percent (25-of-74) from the field, including the aforementioned 23.8 percent from beyond-the-arc.

Tournament Notes
- First time in C-USA history a No. 16 team has advanced; No. 12 USF in 2000 was previous high seed (defeated No. 5 DePaul, 82-69)
- Marshall is believed to be the lowest seed ever to advance in a conference tournament. The previous high was No. 13 Alabama in 2013 (defeated Mississippi State, 63-36)

Marshall Notes
- Marshall's win versus Florida Atlantic is the first time the Herd advanced to the second round of the C-USA Championship since the 2008-09 season, when it defeated Memphis in the first round, and UTEP in the second round.
- The win versus Florida Atlantic marked only the third time this season that the Herd came back to win when trailing at halftime. This season, Marshall is 3-12 when trailing the half. Last time out, the Herd overcame an 11-point deficit at halftime to defeat UTSA, March 5.
- The Herd is unbeaten this season when reaching the 80-point mark, at 5-0. The win versus FAU marked the first time this season that Marshall won a game which was decided by six to 10 points, at 1-3.
- Chelsey Romero earned her second block of the game at 4:44 in the first half to pass Tynikki Crook (2008-09) for sole possession of third place all-time in the Marshall record book for steals in a season. She ended the game with four blocks, tying her career-high. She has 51 blocks this season, most on the team.
- The tandem of Suporia Dickens' and Chukwuka Ezeigbo's double-doubles marks the first time this season that Marshall had two players with double-doubles in a game.
- Chukwuka Ezeigbo tied her career-high of 17 points and added 11 rebounds to record her third double-double this season, the fifth of her career.

Florida Atlantic Notes
- Kimberly Smith has made a 3-pointer in 29 of FAU's 30 games.
- Smith set new FAU and Conference USA records in 3-point shooting, making 90 treys this season.
- She ends her career with 197 3-pointers, ranking second all-time at FAU.
- 9 of FAU's 11 losses in Conference play were by single digits.
- Takia Brooks was two points shy of her career high in scoring. She is the only Owl who did not set her career high this season.