HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Visiting Charlotte made at least 50 percent of its shots in all four quarters to claim an 89-75 win over host Marshall Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at the Cam Henderson Center.
The win snapped a four-game slide for the 49ers, who improved to 18-9 and 10-6 in Conference USA, while Marshall dropped its eighth straight to fall to 12-15 and 4-12 in the league.
Charlotte put all five of its starters in double figures, an effort led by Grace Hunter’s double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds. Lefty Webster (7-for-10 shooting) had a team-high 17 points, while Amaya Ranson added 13 (5-for-5 on FGs, 3-for-3 on 3-pointers), Nyilah Jamison-Myers posted 12 and Ciara Gregory added 10. Laia Raventos added five assists and no turnovers in 21 minutes off the bench.
Marshall was powered by 20 points and nine rebounds from Kiana Evans, to go with Talequia Hamilton’s 19 points and eight caroms. Shayna Gore added 17 points. Reserve Tana Driver posted a season-high four assists in nine minutes of action and Taylor Porter swiped three steals in the first half.
Gore (7-for-7) and Hamilton (5-for-5) were perfect at the free throw line to lead an 81.8 percent effort (18-for-22) by the Thundering Herd, the third consecutive game that the team has shot at least 72 percent from the charity stripe.
The 49ers held big advantages in paint points (46-32) and off the bench (23-9). They also won the rebounding battle 48-35, which helped fuel a 17-9 edge in second chance points.
The Thundering Herd fought to stay within five (22-17) after one quarter of play, despite making just one of its first 11 3-pointers. It also took a 13-point 49er advantage down to seven (42-35) by scoring 11 of the final 16 points of the first half.
Marshall chopped Charlotte’s lead to five (49-44) on a layup by Evans with 6:35 left in the third quarter but the 49ers were too tough down the stretch. They took a 16-point bulge (69-53) lead into the fourth quarter after a buzzer-beating Ransom triple.
The Thundering Herd got no closer than eight in the final quarter.
The 3-point line was a big factor in the game as the 49ers converted eight of their 18 attempts (44.4 percent), while Marshall struggled to a 21.9 percent (7-for-32) showing.
The 49ers have won nine of 10 meetings, all-time, between the two schools.
Hamilton had one block in the game (87 career), tying her for seventh on the all-time Marshall list with Lisa Pruner (1980-84). McKenzie Akers made two more 3-pointers to give her 130 for her career, one shy of Cindy McCauley’s (1994-98) third-place mark in the school’s all-time records. Meanwhile, Gore made two as well (113 career) to pull her within two of former teammate Norrisha Victrum (2012-16) for seventh.
Akers, Evans, Hamilton and Maddie Morris were honored in a pregame ceremony.
The Thundering Herd will hit the road for its final week of C-USA regular season play, as it travels to Rice on Thursday for an 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT tip before continuing to North Texas for a 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT contest.
Marshall coach Matt Daniel
On the game:
“The game plan we had in place, I felt really good about. I feel like we practiced with more energy than we played with today, defensively. It hurt us early and we dug ourselves a hole that we could never quite get out of.”
“I’m doing everything I know how to do. I’m trying to coach them hard, I’m trying to save legs and implement game plans and everything I know to do and just keep after it.”
On emotions in the locker room with regard to the seniors:
“I think we’re a little bit numb because we’re tired and mentally and emotionally beat down. We need to win a game and we’ve got to try to figure out how to get that done.”
On turnovers in third quarter:
“I thought we did a pretty good job taking care of the ball today, but our turnovers were key and Charlotte made us pay when we missed assignments. That’s this league. We’ve got to grow up and figure it out.”
On forcing turnovers:
“We sped [Charlotte] up and I think that kept us in the game, even in the third quarter. We just have to play better basketball. We just have to get healthy and get our minds right and go back after it again next week.”
On the next two games:
“I just want to play better basketball and when the result comes, it comes. I felt really good leaving practice and I’d like to feel good again leaving a game. In order to do that, we just have to play better. It would be huge. I’ve never missed a postseason tournament and I don’t want to start that trend now. I really believe that if we get in the field and get things clicking, we’re as dangerous as anybody else.”