ATHENS, Ohio – Ohio’s Kiyanna Black had 32 points and nailed eight 3-pointers to fuel the Bobcats in a 76-68 win over visiting Marshall Thursday evening in WNIT first-round action at the Convocation Center.
Ohio improved to 25-6 and will host Virginia Tech in the second round. Marshall dropped to 21-12 overall and finished with the most single-season wins for the program in 29 years (24 in 1986-87). The 33 games played this season tied the single-season program record, set by the 2007-08 squad (17-16).
Thursday’s game was just the program’s third postseason appearance in women’s basketball’s NCAA era (since 1981-82).
Black’s output offset a combined 4-for-20 performance by teammates Quiera Lampkins and Yamonie Jenkins, though Lampkins posted six assists and four steals before fouling out. Kelly Karlis had 13 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench.
Marshall’s Leah Scott (17 points) and Shayna Gore (12 points) fought through a combined 7-for-27 shooting effort to lead the Thundering Herd in scoring. Taylor Porter made three of her six 3-pointers for 10 points.
“I’m so very proud of the strides we have made and the growth that is taking place,” Marshall coach Matt Daniel said. “I’m very appreciative of the opportunity our staff has been given and the vision that our administration shares for what women’s basketball can be at Marshall. Our staff is second to none in their willingness to work diligently in the effort to grow our game and help put Marshall basketball on a national map. Those on the support staff are unsung heroes in making us go as smoothly as possible in a positive direction. Our fanbase has grown infinitely in support, and I tip my hat to their recognition of what we are trying to do here.”
“Our young team has grown before our eyes with every bounce, and I believe the lessons learned by everyone on our roster will be invaluable to them as we move forward.”
Ohio jumped Marshall from the start, building a 19-5 lead through one quarter of play. However, the Thundering Herd came right back in the second quarter with a 19-4 run to take a 24-23 lead on a Scott layup at the 4:16 mark. The lead seesawed back and fourth twice more in the quarter before the Bobcats took a 36-32 lead into the halftime break.
Marshall closed the deficit to two (45-43) on a Gore three-point play at the 5:05 mark of the third quarter before Black hit the Thundering Herd with three consecutive 3-pointers to give the home team a 54-43 lead with 2:32 left in the quarter.
The Thundering Herd fought back again in the fourth quarter, closing a 12-point bulge to four twice before Ohio free throws provided the game’s final margin.
Marshall point guard Norrisha Victrum scored eight points to give her 1,003 points for her career, becoming the program’s 20th 1,000-point scorer. Her 394 career assists will have her third in the school’s all-time records.
“Our seniors earned the right to play in postseason play twice, set records as a team and as individuals and laid their emotions out there for everyone to see,” said Daniel. “I believe what they have given at their time at Marshall has helped propel us to a national stage. On the other hand, I believe their experiences in Huntington will equally benefit them as they begin their next chapter in life.”
Scott finished her career with 1,371 points, the fifth-highest total in school history in just three seasons.