"We just played outstanding defense all night long," said MU coach Royce Chadwick. "Everything that went to the rim had to go through KaShawna [Curry]."
And Chadwick was right. His sophomore standout forward dictated the game in the paint, putting up 12 points and 12 rebounds, while blocking four Cardinals shots in the process. The Huntington native is hitting her stride.
"We came out with fire in the second half," said KaShawna Curry. We just went out and got the job done."
The word ‘convincing' was appropriate, as Marshall never trailed the entire game, jumping out to a quick 11-2 lead that Ball State would never catch. In fact, 24-22 with 6:29 left in the first half would be as close as BSU would get.
Modupe Ishola looked for an outlet against Ball State on Sunday afternoon.
"We were right in their faces, and they had no room to get the shot off," Curry added. Marshall ended the first half on a 13-0 run that ended with a 37-22 lead. Ball State had been leading the West division in free throw shooting and three-point accuracy, but the second half would see those two categories never come into play.
"We went through some lulls in the second half," Chadwick continued, "and it took us four or five minutes to regroup."
Chadwick is referring to Ball State cutting the MU lead to a meashly 10 points, 51-41, courtesy of a Tina Bolte three with 9:07 left. The following five minutes say Marshall shoot right back out to a 63-43 lead with 3:53 still left to go. Kim Griffin and Teyonka Hodge provided most of the points during that stretch.
Marshall held Ball State to a dismal shooting night with defense. The Cardinals could only muster 30.2% from the floor (19-of-63), just 28.6% from three (6-of-21), and a horrendous (for BSU) 33.3% free throw shooting (6-of-18). The effort held BSU star Kate Endress to just 8 points. "Kim Griffin was the difference in our defense with her intensity on Endress," Chadwick said. "Kim was there, all night long."
Which in turn free up KaShawna Curry. Her four blocks forced BSU to shoot outside, and their lack of success showed in those final statistics mentioned earlier.
Curry and Crystal Champion both finished with 12 points to lead the team, while Reshundra Smiley quietly added 10 points of her own.
Speaking of 10, that's the current number of consecutive games won by the 15-7 Thundering Herd (9-2 MAC). Chadwick said the streak doesn't weigh in game decisions.
"I don't feel any gorillas on my back," Chadwick summed up. "The streak we need is three in a row, in March."