Women Surge Past UCF, 62-58

A 19-2 second-half run brought Marshall back from a seven-point deficit and fueled an exciting 62-58 win over UCF in Conference USA women's basketball action at the Cam Henderson Center on Friday. Down 31-24 at 15:36 of the second half, Marshall stormed back with what head coach Royce Chadwick called "the best eight minutes of basketball we've ever had (during his Marshall tenure)."

Herd senior KaShawna Curry kick started the sequence with a jumper, followed by four straight field goals from fellow senior Modupe Ishola to help build a game-high, 10-point lead.

Ishola tallied her eighth double-double of the season with game-highs in points (24) and rebounds (15). The C-USA field goal percentage leader went 9-of-13 (69.2 percent) from the floor to go along with an assist, a block and a steal.

Melody Hudson squeezed toward the basket during the first half against UCF. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

The Marshall (9-6, 2-1 C-USA) run did not damper the spirits of UCF, however, as the Golden Knights (5-10, 0-2) battled back the final nine-plus minutes of the game. A Celeste Hudson layup brought UCF back to within two points with four minutes remaining, but a Curry 3-pointer ignited another MU spurt to build a seven-point lead at 1:46.

The resilient Golden Knights followed with a Francine Houston trey and a Keunta Miles jumper to close to within two points with 59 seconds left. Marshall then turned the ball over for the 27th and final time on its ensuing possession, but UCF failed to capitalize to tie the game. The Herd went on to go 4-for-4 from the free-throw line to seal the victory.

"Our seniors were making plays out there tonight," Chadwick said. "KaShawna on the defensive end and Modupe on the offensive end - our younger players feed off of our seniors."

One of Marshall's seniors, point guard Bridget Chacon, was unable to play due to a knee injury suffered in Thursday's practice. Shooting guard Melody Hudson stepped in as MU's backup point guard behind Meg Withrow (Nitro, W.Va.), a spot she had not played all season long.

Modupe Ishola edged between two UCF defenders in the first half of Friday night's 62-58 win in Huntington. Ishola finished with a double-double, scoring 24 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

"Mel inherited the role yesterday," Chadwick said. "I thought she did a good job for us tonight."

The Herd's season-high 27 turnovers were offset by its 53-30 advantage in rebounds. Marshall opened the season with 25 turnovers at Navy, but still defeated the Midshipmen thanks to another huge rebounding margin (53-25), a formula that worked tonight for the Herd.

"We turned the ball over way too many times tonight," Chadwick said. "Hopefully we'll be a better basketball team on Sunday than we were tonight."

Ironically, Marshall turned the ball over 10 times in each of the team's two meetings last season, its lowest turnover outputs of the entire 2005-06 season.

Curry finished with nine points and nine rebounds. Freshman Chantelle Handy (Durham, England) was back in the starting lineup and contributed 11 points with a career-best two 3-pointers (2-for-5). Hudson netted eight points and Meagan Samis followed with four points.

UCF launched a season-high 27 three-pointers in the game, sinking only seven (25.9 percent). Houston went 4-for-15 from beyond the arc while Hudson was 3-of-10. Miles and Houston tied for Golden Knight high-scorer honors with 14 points apiece.

The first half was marred by turnovers and sloppy play as the teams dueled to a 20-20 tie at intermission. Marshall more than doubled its first-half scoring production with 42 second-half points on 44.1 percent shooting.

Marshall's win marked the first time that the home team has come out victorious in this series, which the Herd now leads 3-1.

The Herd will play host to Southern Miss at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Henderson Center. The Golden Eagles registered a road win at East Carolina on Friday to move to 8-7 overall and 2-0 in league play.

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