"We didn't get it going until about 10 minutes left in the second half," said Marshall coach Royce Chadwick afterwards. "We wore them down. It's March, and people are tired and a lot of people don't have the depth that we have."
After a 25-22 halftime lead, Chadwick's team did indeed wear the Zips (7-20, 2-14 MAC) down in the second half. The Marshall bench combined for 21 second half points.
With 8:17 remaining, Marshall began the onslaught with a comfortable 11-point lead, at 48-37. In the span of two minutes, The Herd had forced five Akron turnovers and converted them into points on the scoreboard. Sikeetha Shepard-Hall drained a three-pointer, stole the ball from Akron's Krissy Marco, and got the lay-in to give Marshall a 55-38 lead at the 5:26 mark.
Teyonka Hodge picked off this pass from Akron's Lori Krezeczowski in the second half.
Shepard-Hall's steal was but one of four for her on the night, of 12 total by The Herd.
"I'm just shooting the ball like I've been told.," Shepard-Hall said. "I think the team needs me to shoot the ball, and I'm doing that."
"The younger players stepped up and did a tremendous job, got us on a little run," commented Marshall forward Catie Knable.
The biggest lead of the game (20 points) came with 2:48 left on Nadia Swanigan's layup. Akron hit late baskets to close the gap to the final 67-52 score.
Shepard-Hall led Marshall in scoring again, with 17 points. Knable and Mary Pat Statler each added 11 points (Knable also grabbed 10 rebounds for the double-double), while Modupe Ishola scored 10 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for another double-double.
Akron's Jae Conn led the Zips with 20 points, while Jessie Crooks had 12 points.
The win gives Marshall (16-11, 8-8 MAC) momentum heading into this Saturday afternoon's first-round MAC Tournament game at the Henderson Center. Depending on the outcome of games held late on Thursday, Marshall will be either the #6 or #7 seed in the tournament. Game time on Saturday is set for 1pm at the Henderson Center.