MU Women Win In Three OTs, 97-91

Arlington, Texas - Kizzy Hart scored a career-high 24 points, including 16 in overtime, to lead the Thundering Herd women's basketball team to a 97-91 triple overtime win over the University of Texas at Arlington on Tuesday. Freshman Tynikki Crook continued to emerge, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 boards for the first double-double of her young career.

The win at Texas-Arlington marked Marshall's (7-4) fourth-consecutive win, fourth-straight road win and seventh in its previous eight games.Since starting the season 0-3 in the WNIT, losing at Evansville then to IUPUI and Radford at Miami, Ohio, the Herd is 7-1 over its next eight games, with only a loss to Pre-season Top 25 Pittsburgh, who is still receiving votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/Coaches polls.

The loss dropped UTA to a 3-4 mark. The Mavericks came out shooting at home in the first half, going 51.6 percent from the field while holding the Herd to only 28 percent (11-of-39). Marshall held a 23-18 halfway through the first 20 minutes, but Texas Arlington finished the half on a 20-6 run to take a 38-29 halftime lead. Marshall's 26 boards and 9-of-10 free throw shooting kept the game within reach. After UTA hit a three to start the second half and extend its lead to 41-29, Marshall made a run that would change the complexion of the match. A jumper by Meagan Samis started a 13-0 run that would see Marshall gain a 42-41 lead five minutes into the period. Marshall would later hold a 60-55 lead with six minutes left, but a 12-4 UTA run would give them a 67-64 lead with two minutes left. Hart knocked down a three, giving her eight points in regulation, to knot the game at 67-67 and each team would hit a free throw in the final minute to send the game to overtime.

Hart dominated the first overtime, scoring five of the Herd's seven points. With Marshall down one point, with time running out, Hart was fouled on her three-point attempt. After missing her first two attempts, head coach Royce Chadwick took a timeout to settle the Herd's senior guard, who is in her first season at MU after missing 2006-07 with an injury. Hart showed heart and knocked down the third free-throw to send the game to a second overtime. Scoring was once again at a premium in the second OT with both teams scoring eight points each. Marshall held an 83-81 lead with one minute left in the second overtime when a lay-up by UTA's Tamara Simmons would once again tie the game at 83-83. On the ensuing possession, Simmons would come up with a steal to give UTA a chance for the win, but the Maverick's Candice Champion missed a lay-up as time ran out.

In the third overtime, Marshall took control by jumping out to an four-point lead. UTA would cut the lead to two, but it was all Herd from there. Hart knocked down a jumper with a 1:30 left on the clock in overtime No. 3. On the next possession, the Mavericks would turn the ball over and Hart quickly looked up court to find a wide-open Chantelle Handy for a lay-up to give MU a six-point lead. Hart and Samis would hit two free throws in the final 32 seconds to seal the deal and give Marshall a hard-fought, 97-91, three-overtime win.

Hart led all Marshall players with 24 points, 16 in overtime. The senior from Detroit seems comfortable in the Lone Star State, as Hart topped her previous career high of 23 points, set just two weeks ago at North Texas. The reigning Conference USA Player of the Week, Marshall's Casey Baker, also set a career-high, scoring 22 points. Her play in the second half was pivotal as she notched 16 of her points in the second period. Hart and Baker were the first tandem to each score 20 since December 21 of last year when Alyssa Hammond and Modupe Ishola did the same against Niagara. Crook's 11 points and 11 rebounds gave the Herd its second double-double this week, as Baker had the first of the year at Ohio in that win last Friday. Marshall also beat Navy at home Sunday in "Jam The Cam." Alyssa Hammond rounded out the Herd's double-digit scorers with 14, while senior Samis tied freshman Crook by also pulling 11 boards.

Abanobi led UTA with 26 points, the most scored by an individual against MU this year. Tiffeny Riles also had a stellar game for the Mavericks, scoring 16 points and grabbing 17 rebounds.

Marshall will start its Christmas break for the team on Wednesday, returning the evening of the 26th. Then the Herd will be traveling to the University of Virginia Tournament to face the Big XII's Missouri Tigers in the opening round on December 28th while Delaware State plays the host Cavaliers. The Herd will meet either Virginia or the Hornets of DSU on Dec. 29. Marshall will return home January 5, 2008, to open Conference USA play with East Carolina in a 5 p.m. game, following the men's team hosting Winthrop at 2 p.m. that same Saturday.

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