Victory No. 500, also Chadwick's 100th win at Marshall, did not come easy. Marshall (12-9, 4-3 C-USA) held a three-point lead with under four seconds remaining in regulation. A missed free throw gave Central Florida (8-12, 1-6 C-USA) the ball and with time running out, Angelica Mealing hit a three from half court to send the game into overtime. In the extra period, the Herd was able to overcome an early deficit to take its fourth Conference USA win of the season.
Chadwick was pleased to reach the milestone, but was happier about the way his team was able to come back following a tough ending to regulation. "I saw frustration, we had to overcome an error at the end of regulation," Chadwick said. "Our kids came back and fought."
The first half featured significant runs by both teams. The Knights took an early 8-4 lead before a pair of free throws by Tynikki Crook began what would turn into a 17-0 run over a five-minute stretch that would see the Herd with a 21-8 lead. UCF fought right back, dropping the margin to only five points (23-18) after connecting on a pair of threes. Marshall would hit two quick shots to take a nine-point lead, but the Knight's defense would clamp down at that point, holding the Herd without a point for a six-minute stretch while cutting the Marshall lead to one point, 27-26, with 2:48 remaining in the opening period.
Marshall would finish the first stanza on a high note, extending the margin to 36-28 at the half. The Knights opened the second half on fire, tallying 11 of the first 13 points to take their first lead since early in the first half. UCF held Marshall without a field goal for roughly four minutes before Meagan Samis hit a lay-up with 15 minutes remaining.
Things remained close from that point on with neither team taking control of the game. The game was tied with under two minutes remaining in regulation, but a shot by Tynikki Crook gave the Herd a two-point advantage. Two free throws by Meg Withrow extended the lead to four with a minute remaining.
In the ensuing possession, Emma Cannon hit her sixth bucket of the half to cut the lead to two. Following a made free throw by each team, the Herd found itself up two with under five seconds remaining. A foul sent Melody Hudson to the line where she would make the first, but miss the second. Angelica Mealing took the rebound for the Knights and hit a desperation shot from mid-court to send the game into overtime.
UCF grabbed a three-point lead early in the extra period, but some timely free throw shooting by Marshall proved to be the difference. The Herd hit 7-of-10 shots from the charity stripe to escape with the 77-75 win. For the fourth time in five games, senior Meagan Samis led the team in scoring with 13. She also led the team with nine rebounds. Casey Baker also had 13 points while notching eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Alyssa Hammond registered 12 points while Tynikki Crook and Chantelle Handy had 11.
Marshall's play on the boards against the No. 19 rebounding team in the nation was admirable, holding them to only 34 while grabbing 40 rebounds. Tia Lewis, the leading rebounder in C-USA, finished with ten boards and 14 points. Emma Cannon led all scorers with 19 points and a game-high 12 boards for the Knights.
With win No. 500 out of the way, Coach Chadwick took some time to reflect on his career. "A lot of people helped me get here. Looking back at my father, he always supported me," Chadwick said. "I also have to thank my daughters and my mother for everything they have done. Also our boosters, who have made everything possible, and all the players who have played for me."
The win also marked his 100th at the university in seven seasons. He is the third coach in program history to reach that milestone. Chadwick will not be looking for milestones, but what will shape up as another tough Conference USA road game on Saturday when the Herd travels to face Southern Miss at 7 p.m. The Golden Eagles enter the game with the Herd at 11-9 on the season, following an 86-70 loss to East Carolina on Thursday.