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Herd's Rally Falls Short Versus Navy, 72-68

Freshman Chelsey Romero

Dec. 29, 2013

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Reigning Conference USA Freshman of the Week Chelsey Romero (Hampton, Va.) recorded a career-high 16 points with her second double-double in a close battle with Navy, Sunday afternoon, but a late rally did not prove to be enough as Thundering Herd fell to the Midshipmen, 72-68, at Cam Henderson Center.

With the loss, Marshall fell to 5-6, 0-0 in Conference USA. Navy improved to 8-3 overall, and will begin Patriot League play, Thursday.

For the third consecutive game (and fourth of the last five games), three Herd players found double figures with Romero’s 16, AJ Johnson’s (Silver Spring, Md.) 15, and Norrisha Victrum’s (Columbia, S.C.) 11. Victrum has finished in double digits in Marshall’s last four games. Romero pulled down 10 rebounds to complete her double-double.

Navy led by as many as 10 points at three different times in the first half, the latest being 23-13 at the 6:31 mark before the break. However, Marshall eclipsed the Mids’ lead with an 11-to-0 run from 5:49 to 2:52 to go up, 24-23.

The score would tie twice more before halftime, at 24 and at 26 apiece. After a 9-to-4 Navy run, a Victrum three-pointer with three seconds remaining put the Herd within two points, down, 35-33, at the first buzzer.

The second half opened with an 8-to-2 Navy offensive spurt, which included three-pointers from junior Chloe Stapleton and senior Kara Pollinger. The Herd couldn’t seem to find its footing for the majority of the second half, going down by as many as 12 with 3:38 to go.

Despite the deficit, Marshall was not finished. From 3:38 to 0:27 on the clock, the Herd went on an 11-to-2 scoring spree to cut Navy’ lead to only three, at 71-68. In that span, senior Suporia Dickens (Freeport, Ill.) and Romero combined for nine of the 11 points scored. However, time was not on Marshall’s side, as Pollinger hit a free throw at 0:26, and the Herd couldn’t muster up a final offensive surge. The buzzer sounded with Navy on top, 72-68.

Stapleton finished with 26 points for the Mids, sinking a career-high eight three pointers. Her performance marked the most threes scored on the Herd since Tulane’s Danielle Blagg made eight versus Marshal last season (Jan. 13, 2013). Navy’s 14-made treys are the most scored against the Herd since Southern Utah sunk 15 in November 2001.

Rebounds were tied at 37, and both teams made six steals. Marshall capitalized off Navy’s 14 turnovers, scoring 17 points, while the Mids scored 15 off the Herd’s 11. Marshall’s 19-of-25 mark from the free throw line was the Herd’s second-best performance of the season, at 76 percent.

It was a mixed crowd of 673 in Huntington, with many fans in town to support Pollinger, a Fort Gay, W.Va., native and Tolsia High School alumna.

Marshall now trails the all-time series with Navy, 2-3, with the Mids winning back-to-back contests. Last season, the Herd fell, 67-51, in Annapolis, Md.

Next, Marshall gears up for a New Year’s Eve matchup with Davis & Elkins, Tuesday, at 2 p.m. at Cam Henderson Center. For all the latest information about Marshall women’s basketball, follow @HerdWBB on Twitter.