MU Women Stop Short, And Miami Gets 68-65 Win

Huntington-- The Marshall women's basketball team had the Miami RedHawks beat by 9 points, with just 4:38 left in the game. Then, the proverbial bottom fell out. Miami ran off13 points to only one Marshall free throw after that, and walked out of the Henderson Center with a 68-65 win over Marshall on Wednesday evening...

Marshall Coach Royce Chadwick was exasperated, to say the least. The MAC opener for both teams left Chadwick 0-1 in the leage, and just 5-6 overall.

"We got the game in control, and all we had to do was finish it," Chadwick said in a stern tone. "We were unable to finish it."

The first and second halves of the game mirrored each other in eerie fashion; Marshall held the lead in the first half until 4:39 left, when Miami went on a 13-2 run to take a 39-31 halftime lead.

Just one second off the same mark (4:38) in the second half, and the RedHawks pulled the same stunt, going 13-1 and pulling out the win.


Sikeetha Shepard-Hall drove against Miami's Cindi Merrill in the second half.

"We've got to fix it. We have to find a way to finish it," added Marshall's Kim Griffin. "We just have to fix that. "

"One of the hardest things -I think- to learn is how to finish games," Chadwick added. "We played pretty well in the second half, and got outplayed for 5 minutes."

Marshall came out in the second half literally afire, scoring the first 9 points unanswered. Mary Pat Statler's layup with 16:26 left gave Marshall the 42-41 lead.

Reshundra Smiley reeled off 6 consecutive points (she finished with 6) to give Marshall a 53-47 lead. Marshall was in cruise control when teammate Crystal Champion (14 points, 8 rebounds) layed in a shot with 4:38 left and the Marshall lead at 64-55.

The trouble was, Chadwick had both center Modupe Ishola (6 points) and guard Sikeetha Shepard-Hall (9 points) in foul trouble with four fouls each. That limited The Herd's aggressiveness, and Miami took advantage of the situation.

"It always affects you when you're in foul trouble," said MU coach Chadwick. "It took Sikeetha's aggressive nature away from her when she got in foul trouble. "

Miami's Kim Smith nailed a three with 3:07 left, and teammate Amanda Jackson did the same with 1:32 left. That gave Miami the go-ahead lead at 66-64.

"We weren't being aggresive enough. Coach told us to crash the boards in the second half, and we took that to the court in the second half," said Marshall's Crystal Champion. "But to win the game, we have to bring it for 40 minutes."

The RedHawks put up a staggering 70 shots in the game, hitting only 23 of them (32.9%). However, 9 of those were long-range threes. And guard Nicki Motto hit 5 of those. Motto lead the RedHawks with 19 points.

Miami also snagged 50 (yes, fifty) rebounds against Marshall's 40 rebounds, in a game that featured 134 shots being taken between the two teams.

Crystal Champion was high-scorer for Marshall with 14 points, followed by Kim Griffin (13 points) and KaShawna Curry (12 points). The Herd shot 40.6% from the field (26-of-64), but just 11.1% from three-point range (1-of-9). Marshall also only made 12-of-21 free throws, 57.1%.

"If you give up 22 offensive rebounds, you're going to lose every night," summed up Chadwick.

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