The Herd trailed Kent State (19-9) 31-27 at the break and fell down by eight points two minutes into the second half. Trailing 42-37 with 13 1/2 minutes remaining, the Thundering Herd (18-11) went on a 20-4 run over the next seven minutes to take a 57-46 lead they never relinquished. Marshall forced the Golden Flashes (19-9) into 1-of-9 shooting from the field and five turnovers during the stretch.
Kent State, which entered the game riding an eight-game winning streak, held the Herd scoreless for the next five minutes but was only able to cut the lead to five points (57-52) with 1:23 left.
The Thundering Herd's Sikeetha Shepard-Hall scored a game-high 26 points, one point off her career high, to lead Marshall to its first MAC semifinal appearance in school history. Shepard-Hall nailed a career-high five 3-point field goals to go along with five steals and four rebounds. MU senior Catie Knable grabbed 10 rebounds to put her over 900 for her career, becoming only the second Herd player to achieve that mark.
Porous Marshall free throw shooting down the stretch nearly allowed Kent State to claw back into the game, but the Herd held on for the victory. The Herd went 14-of-26 from the line, while the Flashes were 18-of-21.
Marshall put the game away by hitting 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final 66 seconds after making just 7-of-18 prior to that.
Marshall, which was the lone lower seed to win its quarterfinal game, will play second-seeded Eastern Michigan University in the second semifinal Friday at 2:30 p.m. EST. Eastern Michigan downed the Herd 66-49 in their only meeting of the season, coming on Feb. 7 at the Cam Henderson Center. The Eagles won their first ever West Division crown this season. Top-seeded Miami University will meet fourth-seeded Bowling Green State University at noon.