EMU Advances To MAC Final With 75-70 Win Over Herd

"Every time I looked at that scoreboard we were down two or down three," Marshall coach Royce Chadwick said, "and we never could get over that hump to really get some confidence going with our team." Chadwick's squad cut a six-point Eastern Michigan lead to 65-64 with under three minutes remaining, but the Eagles converted a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final 2:12 to knock The Herd out of the MAC Women's Tournament semi-finals, 75-70, at Gund Arena Friday afternoon.

Eastern would go onto win the MAC Tournament for the first-time ever on Saturday, taking out fourth-seeded Bowling Green 65-56 in Cleveland. EMU (22-7) advances to the NCAA Tournament as a 14-seed and will play number three-seeded Boston College (25-6) on Saturday, March 20, in Columbus, Ohio. The winner will meet the winner of #6 Ohio State and #11 West Virginia on Monday, March 22.

"That was probably one of the most physical games this program has ever played in," said Eastern Michigan head coach Suzy Merchant. "We knew it coming in, but you really can't simulate it in practice. Marshall's offensive rebounding is its own entity."

The Thundering Herd (18-12) got within three at 73-70 with four seconds left when Catie Knable was fouled on a three-point try and hit 2-of-3 free throws but Coleman secured the win with two more charity tosses. For the game, Eastern Michigan was 22-of-28 from the line, compared to 14-of-20 for Marshall.

"I thought Eastern Michigan played very, very well," Marshall head coach Royce Chadwick said. "[Erika] Ford handled all of our presses and we were unable to get her trapped and get the deflections that we needed to be successful."

Modupe Ishola led the Thundering Herd with 14 points off the bench as Marshall's reserves scored 36 of the team's 70 points, including 27 of 34 in the first half. Catie Knable scored all 12 of her points in the second half.

In the first half, Eastern Michigan took a 28-15 lead with 7 1/2 minutes left but Marshall closed the period with a 19-8 run to trail 36-34 at the break. The Herd then took its first lead since the game's opening minutes at 47-46 on a layup by Sikeetha Shepard-Hall with 15 minutes remaining. But Crandall hit her fourth three-pointer of the game moments later to give the Eagles the lead for good.

Ryan Coleman scored 11 of her game-high 17 points in the second half and added a team-high eight rebounds as the Eagles (21-7) continued the best season in school history.

Other teams from the MAC made the Women's National Invitational Tournament, announced on Monday. Miami, Ohio (21-8), the number one seed in the MAC Tournament who were upset by Bowling Green in the semi-finals, will travel the short trip from Oxford to Cincinnati, Ohio, to face Xavier (17-12). Western Michigan (17-12), who lost in the quarterfinals at Cleveland last week, travels to Louisville on Thursday to play the Cardinals (20-9). Finally, the team Marshall beat in the quarterfinals at the Gund last Wednesday, number three MAC seed Kent State (19-9), will travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to meet the Hawks of St. Joseph's (20-10). Pairing for the next round will be announced Saturday.

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