W. Michigan Latest Victim In Herd's 11-Game Streak

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Pressure defense and a run-and-gun offense pushed the Marshall women's basketball team's win streak to 11 games by virtue of a 72-61 victory over Western Michigan on Wednesday at University Arena. The win snapped Marshall's three-game losing streak to the Broncos and pushed head coach Royce Chadwick's four-year record at MU to an even .500 (55-55). Chadwick has now defeated every team in the Mid-American Conference.

Marshall (16-7, 10-2 MAC) used its opportunistic offense and hording defense to slowly wear down Western Michigan (8-16, 5-8 MAC) in the second half. The Thundering Herd held WMU to several scoring lulls in the second half while gaining offensive momentum from both its guard and post players. Center Modupe Ishola led MU with 13 points followed by 12 from guard Kim Griffin.

The teams traded baskets for the first 12-plus minutes of the second half until Marshall's defense -aided by a sturdy press- gave the Herd some breathing room. WMU turned the ball over 10 times (24 total) in the second half to the Herd's five (16 total).

Ishola finished with seven rebounds and a game-high three steals. Reshundra Smiley scored 10 points with two steals, while Sikeetha Shepard-Hall scored seven points with five assists and a pair of steals.

In perhaps the breakout game Chadwick was looking for, junior guard Mary Pat Statler came off the bench to score eight points (3-of-6) with a career-high six rebounds in 17 minutes. Her scoring output is the most since she recorded 14 points versus Morehead State on Dec. 1.

WMU senior forward Kelly Koerber scored a game-high 27 points (12-of-20) with 11 rebounds. Kate Verseput also registered 11 boards with nine points. Sophomore guard Carrie Moore, who was scoring 18.9 points per league game (3rd in MAC), mustered only eight points.

In its previous outing, Marshall held Ball State's Kate Endress, the MAC's leading scorer with over 20 points per conference game, to eight points.

The Broncos out-rebounded Marshall 38-35 and held a higher field goal percentage (45.5 percent to 42.9 percent). WMU was averaging nearly four three-pointers per game entering the game, but converted only 1-for-9 against Marshall.

The Herd and Broncos entered halftime knotted at 32 apiece, thanks to a Smiley 3-pointer as time expired. WMU's Brittany Tyson made both ends of a one-and-one to go up three points with 5.6 seconds on the clock before Shepard-Hall took the inbounds pass to the Bronco free-throw line. She found Smiley in the left corner where she promptly connected to score her only points of the half.

Ishola scored 10 points with five rebounds in a first half marred by turnovers. Western Michigan committed 14 turnovers, aided by eight Herd steals, to Marshall's 11. Tyson, the Broncos' starting point guard, turned the ball over five times (10 total), but countered with four points, four assists and two steals.

WMU grabbed its biggest lead of the half at 8:18 when Tyson scored while being fouled to go up six, 23-17. The Herd responded with a 6-0 run to tie the score, highlighted by a Griffin bucket then quick steal and dump to KaShawna Curry for an easy layup.

Shepard-Hall was held scoreless (0-for-5) in the first, but the slack was pulled from Statler who netted six points. Koerber led the Broncos with 13 points in the first (6-for-10) with seven rebounds.

Marshall is now 5-0 against teams from the West Division, with each win coming via a double digit margin.

The Herd will return home on Saturday for a 2 p.m. matchup with Buffalo at the Cam Henderson Center. The Bulls (4-19, 2-10 MAC) fell to Kent State at home on Wednesday, 76-34.

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