HUNTINGTON – A fourth quarter surge helped lead the Marshall women’s basketball team to a comeback win over Saint Francis, 81-73 Thursday afternoon in the Cam Henderson Center.
The Herd improves to 7-1, while Saint Francis falls to 2-7.
“We were lucky to get the win,” Herd coach Matt Daniel said. “What everybody will look at is the record. That’s a team that got beat by Cincinnati by six. They were better than we were but we were able to be resilient from the second half and essentially the fourth quarter, so I’m happy to get out of here with the win.”
Leading the way for the Herd was freshman Shayna Gore (Logan, W.Va.) with 25 points, only two points shy of her career-high 27 points that she set at Morehead State earlier this season. Following Gore in double-digits was Norrisha Victrum (Columbia, S.C.) with 15, Leah Scott (Detroit, Mich.) with 14, Talequia Hamilton (Huntington, W.Va.) with 11 and Taylor Porter (Fort Gay, W.Va.) with 10. This was the first time that five players have scored in double figures since Morehead State on Nov. 13.
It was a slow start for the Herd, as the Red Flash jumped out to an early four-point lead at the 5:12 mark of the first quarter. Saint Francis continued to extend its lead to the largest of the quarter of seven points (11-4) with 3:13 remaining. The final three minutes were crucial for the Herd, as it rallied back to score the next 10 out of 11 points to take a 14-12 advantage. From there, Marshall went on to finish the quarter with a one point (17-16) edge.
Marshall’s strong finish at the end of the first quarter continued into the second as it took the first five points of the quarter, including layups from Hamilton Porter. After the Herd took its largest lead of the game of six points at 8:50 in the second quarter, Saint Francis began to cut into the lead by way of the 3-pointer. The Red Flash would make five 3-pointers in the quarter, while MU was held scoreless behind the arc. As the two teams headed into the half, Saint Francis held a 38-34 advantage.
“It’s got to take everybody and it’s got to take 40 minutes long,” Coach Daniel said discussing the first half performance. “We just have to decide what we want to be about all the way up our roster, and it has got to be important to them. It’s not about me, it’s the team’s team. It’s not Matt Daniel’s team, and whatever they want to be about they need to be about that all the time.”
The Red Flash continued to put the pressure on to start the third quarter, as it opened the game with a 10-point lead with 5:45 remaining. Marshall would battle back though, as a Gore 3-pointer at the 1:36 mark closed the gap to just three points. The lead stayed at three (58-55) in favor of Saint Francis to finish the quarter.
The shot began to fall for the Herd in the fourth quarter as Marshall opened up a 21-2 run to take the lead 76-60. Gore and Scott scored nine points apiece in the fourth quarter and the Herd defense tightened things on the Red Flash forcing quick shots and turnovers.
Saint Francis put up 78 total shots in the game with 41 coming from three. Marshall outscored SFU in the paint 38-26 in the paint as Scott and Hamilton took over in the middle late in the game.
Setting new career-highs and milestones today for the Herd was Kiana Evans (Huntington, W.Va.), Chelsey Romero (Hampton, Va.) and Scott. Evans set a new career high in rebounds with nine, while Romero recorded her 100th career block and is only the fifth player in program history to hit the century mark. Scott has now reached double figures for the 18th straight game.
“We’re 7-1 and we’ve got something that’s working and we just have to be better,” Coach Daniel said.
Up next, Marshall will welcome Norfolk State for a 1 p.m. start at the Cam Henderson Center Sunday, December 20.