HUNTINGTON — Western Kentucky forward Ivy Brown scored a career-high 26 points on 9-for-10 field goal shooting, which included a perfect 5-for-5 effort from beyond the arc, to pace the visitors in an 80-76 victory over the Marshall women’s basketball team Sunday afternoon at the Cam Henderson Center. She also recorded 11 rebounds in the double-double performance.
The Lady Hilltoppers improved to 19-4 overall and are in third place in Conference USA with a 10-2 mark. Marshall dropped to 16-7, snapping a three-game winning streak, and are in seventh at 6-6.
Ivy Brown’s contribution was especially key as WKU played without the services of forward Tashia Brown, who is the league’s third-leading scorer at 17.8 points per game. Tashia Brown, who suffered a concussion in Thursday’s practice, had 21 when the two teams met on January 2 in Bowling Green, resulting in an 81-52 WKU victory.
Kendall Noble had 22 on the afternoon and countered a 6-for-17 shooting day by getting to the free throw line 14 times with nine makes. She also had a game-high seven assists.
Taylor Brown also had a career-high 16 points (7-for-13 FGs) and Dee Givens added 10.
Marshall was led by Norrisha Victrum’s season-high 23 points (9-for-18 FGs), six assists and three steals. Leah Scott was held to four field goals but went 9-for-9 at the free throw line for an afternoon of 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Taylor Porter had a perfect shooting day, hitting all five of her shots, including three 3-pointers and Talequia Hamilton tacked on 11 points and three blocks.
“I thought we struggled with execution of our game plan,” said Marshall coach Matt Daniel. “Not just late, I thought we struggled with execution all day long and it’s a shame because I felt like we let one get away.”
WKU jumped out to an early nine-point lead (18-9) when Noble found Taylor Brown for a layup at the 2:05 mark of the first quarter.
The Thundering Herd never led in the game but tied it six times only to see the Lady Hilltoppers answer with a basket on each subsequent possession.
Ivy Brown made one of two free throws with 21 seconds left to give WKU a 79-76 lead. Marshall’s Shayna Gore then came down and missed a layup and WKU rebounded the miss. Noble also split her pair of charity tosses for the game’s final margin.
WKU’s edge in bench points (26-9) and second chance points (15-6) was a big factor. Of note, Marshall got all six of its second chance points in the first half, while WKU got all of its 15 in the second stanza.
WKU also won the battle on the glass (33-26), with a 15-9 edge on the offensive end.
Both teams shot well from the 3-point line as WKU hit a blistering 7-for-10 (70 percent) and Marshall connected on 8-for-16 (50 percent).
The Thundering Herd had another excellent day at the free throw line, missing just once in 15 tries, but that was less than half of WKU’s attempts (19-for-31, 61.3 percent).
Marshall hits the road next week for games at Charlotte (Thursday, 7 p.m.) and Old Dominion (Saturday, 4 p.m.).