Fifth Third Title Goes To UL-Monroe

The Marshall University women's fought back from an 11-point hole in the second half to tie the game late, but it was not enough as the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks came away with a 69-67 win in the championship game of the Fifth Third MU Classic. Marshall falls in the title game for second-consecutive season in Cam Henderson Center on the MU campus.

A jumper by Shannon Davis of ULM (3-1) with eight minutes remaining gave the Warhawks their largest lead of the game, 56-45, and the Herd was down 11. Marshall (3-1) began its comeback attempt with a Tynikki Crook jumper. With the ULM lead at seven two minutes later, a lay-up by Alyssa Hammond cut the lead to five.

After two missed free throws by the Warhawks, Hammond connected on two free throws to make it a three-point game. The teams exchanged two free throws apiece, making it a 62-59 game with three minutes remaining. Following a ULM turnover, Tania Walters connected on a lay-up and was fouled on the play, giving the Herd a chance to tie it up as they were now down just 62-61. Walters missed and ULM hit a trey to extend the lead back to four.

Angelica "Stick" Harris responded on the other end, hitting her only three of the contest. The Next trip down, Harris was fouled. She connected on the first attempt from the charity stripe, but failed to connect on the second. Fifth Third MU Classic Tournament MVP Jesse Carrier hit her fifth three-pointer of the game on the ensuing trip up the floor.

Marshall cut the lead to one on a jumper by Crook, but a ULM free throw, coupled with a missed Marshall shot at the buzzer, gave the Warhawks the two-point win and championship. ULM beat Morgan State on day one, and the Herd knocked off Tennessee State on Friday.

"Hats off to Louisiana-Monroe. I thought they did a really good job disrupting the flow of the game and keeping us out of our half-court sets," said Herd head coach Royce Chadwick. "We turned it over a bunch of times, turned it over in situations where we had the opportunity to score. I thought our execution, especially down the stretch when we really needed to execute better, was off and that had to do with their defense.

"We just didn't execute when we needed it the most. We didn't have a stellar night shooting the basketball. In the second half, I felt like we got some of the same looks as we did in the first half but we couldn't get them to go down," said Chadwick. We were a little impatient and we just didn't play championship caliber basketball. That's what you have to play on back-to-back nights."

Alyssa Hammond accounted for four of the late points on her way to 19-points for the game, her highest total since scoring a career-high 23 two seasons ago at Niagara. The Herd never led in the second half, spotting ULM a lead of as many as eight points, before falling 69-67.

Crook recorded her second 20-point scoring effort of the season, finishing with an even 20 points, eight rebounds and was a strong 8-of-12 from the field. Hammond's 19-point performance was highlighted by an 11-of-12 performance from the charity stripe.

Walters set a career mark with 32 minutes of play against ULM while setting a new mark with six steals. That is also the most for any Herd player in the young season. Casey Baker scored eight points with three boards and three assists.

Jesse Carrier led the Warhawks with 19 points and five rebounds. Carrier was named the tournament Most Valuable Player, while fellow Warhawk Lottie Moore, who recorded five assists and four steals in the championship game, was named to the All-Tournament Team. Crook and Baker made the team for Marshall while Corin Adams of Morgan State was named to the team for her 23-point performance in the Bears 63-57 win over Tennessee State in the consolation game.

Marshall will be back in action, playing host to Morehead State on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. Last season, the Herd topped the Eagles, 83-79, in overtime, erasing an eight-point deficit with under a minute to go in regulation in the "I-64 Series," so named because the two schools are long-time rivals and located about one hour apart on Interstate 64.

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