Marshall Women Dispatch Houston, 57-41

HUNTINGTON — Behind senior Modupe Ishola's career-high 23 points, coupled with 14 rebounds, Marshall opened its Conference USA women's basketball season on Saturday with a 57-41 win over visiting Houston at the Cam Henderson Center. Ishola, a 6-foot-2 center, dominated the paint, grabbing a career-best 10 offensive rebounds on the afternoon.

Ishola went 9-of-14 from the floor and 5-for-7 from the free-throw line in one of the most impressive outings of her career.

Both teams shooting performances, however, were not as impressive. Houston (0-6, 0-1 C-USA) converted only 29 percent of its field goal attempts while Marshall (6-2, 1-0 C-USA) was slightly better at 35.7 percent. The combined 98 points scored ties the Henderson Center record for lowest total points in a game (1/7/82 vs. Kentucky State, 1/19/02 vs. Kent State). In fact, the Thundering Herd's 57 points is its lowest point total in a win since it defeated the Cougars last season, 57-50, in Houston.

KaShawna Curry applied pressure to Houston's Maya Onikute in the second half of The Herd's 57-41 win on Saturday. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

The Cougars, missing all-conference guard Tye Jackson to injury, committed 10 turnovers and shot 6-for-30 (20 percent) in the first half to trail 23-14 at the break. Marshall, which never trailed in the game, and Houston turned up the tempo in the second half to the delight of the 1,209 in attendance.

After trading baskets for the second half's first 8:18, Marshall led 34-26 before Houston turned up the heat on the Herd defense. Sha'Ratta Hawkins put the Cougars on her back as UH went on a 9-2 run to close its deficit to one point, 36-35, with 8:07 left. Hawkins scored seven points during the two-minute spurt, including a 3-pointer that prompted a Marshall timeout.

Modupe Ishola put up two of her career-high 23 points against Houston. The Cougars' Sunshine Misa-Uli applied pressure. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

MU responded by tightening its defense, holding the Cougars to only six points the rest of the game. Alyssa Hammond (Oak Hill, Ohio) kickstarted Marshall's game-ending 21-6 run with an offensive rebound followed by one of her several turnaround jumpers in the paint. Hammond scored seven of her nine points after halftime.

Point guard Meg Withrow (Nitro, W.Va.) netted 10 points with five rebounds and four assists for Marshall.

"Houston is a very good team that is missing kids to injuries," Herd head coach Royce Chadwick said. "They're very athletic and can make things happen. We played adequate defense against them tonight.

"They were playing the second of a two-game road swing and you could tell they were tiring in the game's last five minutes."

Houston, which fell to West Virginia in Morgantown on Thursday, was led by Hawkins' 16 points. The sophomore, however, turned the ball over nine times in 30 minutes while playing in foul trouble most of the contest. Forward Ryan Meyers grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds for UH and scored eight points. Maya Onikute also reached double-digits in boards with 10 rebounds.

Ishola's double-double was her third of the season.

"I was upset after the Maryland game," Ishola said. "Me being upset helped to bring out my aggressive mentality that I had tonight. I know how to score and I know how to go to the rack, it was just a matter of executing."

Ishola was one rebound shy of her career-high 15 rebounds, set last season at Houston.

Senior forward KaShawna Curry (Huntington, W.Va.) had a tough day from the field (1-for-8), but compensated with eight rebounds and three assists. Sophomore Kendra King (Fairfax, Va.) scored seven points with seven rebounds and two steals. King netted the Herd's lone 3-pointer of the day, the first of her career, in the opening 20 minutes of play.

Marshall is off to its best eight-game start (6-2) since the 2003-04 team began the year 7-1. The Herd's win was the program's 499th all-time victory in its 985th game.

Marshall will close out its three-game homestand while stepping back out of conference play when it plays host to Virginia on Tuesday. Tip-off for the Cavaliers' first visit to Huntington is at 7 p.m.

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