MU Women Fall To WVU In Final Minute, 74-65

Marshall and West Virginia battled tooth and nail throughout the women's basketball game that always leads off the Chesapeake Energy Capital City Classic at the Charleston Civic Center in the annual doubleheader between the state's two rivals and only Division I programs. But WVU turned a close game into a big win with free throws, missed shots, rebounds and a big three down the stretch.

Marshall sophomore forward Tynikki Crook recorded a double-double, scoring a career-high 24 points along with 10 rebounds and three blocks, as the Marshall women's basketball team fell short. The Herd got 12 points and four rebounds from Chantelle Handy, who played high school basketball in Wheeling, W.Va. after leaving her home in Durham, England six years ago. Alyssa Hammond chipped in nine points, Casey Baker had seven and Angelica Harris had five rebounds.

Tynikki Crook put up two of her career-high 24 points over WVU's Natalie Burton in the second half. photo by Rick Haye for Herd Insider

It was another frustrating loss for head coach Royce Chadwick and his Marshall women's basketball program in regards to the annual game with West Virginia. MU is 1-7 under Chadwick in the WVU game, but 6-12 overall since the series moved to Charleston as a permanent doubleheader in the early 1990s. Marshall fell to 9-7 on the season and saw a two-game winning streak come to an end that saw wins at SMU and Tulsa in Conference USA. WVU broke a three-game losing streak, all coming in the Big East Conference, and improved to 11-5 overall.

The Mountaineers were led by Sara Miles with a team-high 23 points, hitting 8-of-17 from the floor and a perfect 7-of-7 at the free throw line. Teammate Takisha Grandberry who had 17 points, hitting 3-for-7 from three, and eight rebounds.

Marshall and West Virginia traded the lead back and forth eight times in a first half that ended with WVU up by three, 35-32. Crook had 11 of her 24 points in the first half points to keep the Herd close throughout the first half. West Virginia continued to cling to a two-point lead until Handy tied the game at 43-43 with 14:23 left. The Herd took the lead a minute later as Crook mad3e two free throws to put the green and white up 45-4.

Chantelle Handy made a pass over WVU's Ashley Powell. Handy had 12 points in the loss to WVU. photo by Rick Haye for Herd Insider

With 8:42 left, Sara Miles scored on a fast break attempt to help the Mountaineers. Miles then hit two free throws to put her squad ahead by three. Marshall immediately fought back as Rashedah Henriques hit a floater near the basket and Crook followed up her third block of the night with an assist to Handy. Next, Miles scored on a tip in, following her own shot and then Granberry scored next to put West Virginia ahead 57-54. Back came the Herd and Crook, who nailed a jumper in the lane and drew the foul for a three-point play.

Alex Sanabria buried a three, her only made field goal in five attempts, from the corner on the Mountaineers next possession to put West Virginia back up by three. THenriques hit a long two and Crook sunk a jumper in the lane to tie the game at 63-all with two minutes remaining.

West Virginia answered with a pair of layups to go ahead 67-63 with 1:30 left in the game. The Mountaineer nailed a three to make a seven-point possession and were able to hold for the 74-65 win as Marshall scored only two points in the final minute and one-half.

The Herd shot 50 percent for the game, 24-of-48, but only hit 2-of-7 from three. WVU hit 47 percent (25-of-53), but nailed 7-of-15 three-point attempts, also 47 percent. MU was 15-for-23 at the line while the Mountaineers were 17-of-25. The Herd out-rebounded WVU 35-to-25, but West Virginia turned its ten offensive rebounds into 15 second-chance points. Marshall only scored six second-chance points on ten offensive boards. The Herd turned the ball over 22 times to just 17 for WVU. For the game, the score was tied ten times and the lead ended up changing 14 times total.

The Herd will have no time to dwell on the disappointing loss, as East Carolina will come to Huntington on Sunday at 2 p.m. for an important Conference USA game. Marshall lost the C-USA opener at ECU, getting blown out in Greenville, N.C. at Minges Coliseum by 70-47 before getting wins in Dallas over the Mustangs (70-63), the defending C-USA champions, and over the Golden Hurricane, 51-37. 37 points was the lowest opponent score against the women's team since 2004 when Morgan State scored just 34 in a season opening win for Marshall. The Herd will host UAB on Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. and Memphis, a televised game on CSS, on Jan. 24 at Noon.

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