Tynikki Crook led the way for Marshall, tallying 16 points and a game high nine rebounds. Alyssa Hammond and Keona Brooks notched 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Casey Baker scored two of her eight points over the defense of UAB's Britney Jones in the first half. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
"We are very excited and fortunate to get the win. It was a very physical battle, as well as rough and tough," Marshall head coach Royce Chadwick said. "This was just a typical Conference USA game. It was two teams going at each other. Every time you made a field goal, you earned it and it was very difficult to get a stop every time."
The first half was a back-and-forth affair, which featured six lead changes. Neither team established control early on, with each squad holding a five-point lead in the first half. Shots by Casey Baker and Chantelle Handy put the Herd up 4-0 early on before UAB got on the board over three minutes in thanks to an Amanda Scott three.
Chantelle Handy and Casey Baker applied defensive pressure to UAB's Britney Jones. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Following a Marshall turnover, Britney Jones connected on her first trey of the game to give the Blazers a 6-4 advantage. After three lead changes, the score was knotted at 12-12 midway through the half. A 5-0 spurt gave the Blazers a 17-12 lead with eight minutes remaining in the half before the Herd defense clamped down.
Marshall held UAB scoreless over a six minute span while the offense scored ten straight points, giving the Herd its largest advantage to that point. The Herd would hold that lead through halftime before quick run over the first two minutes of the second half helped UAB tie it up at 26 all.
The lead would swap four times over the next nine minutes before the Herd put forth its game-changing run. Up by one, 38-37, with 9:27 left in the game, Marshall reeled off 11 of the next 16 points on its way to opening up a 12-point lead.
Tynikki Crook led all Marshall scorers with 16 points and nine rebounds, including this basket over UAB's Amanda Scott. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
A Baker trey got the run started while Crook followed with consecutive buckets. Five points by Alix Barnette and another Crook field goal powered the Herd to the largest lead either team would hold during the game, 54-42, with 3:16 remaining.
The Blazers cut the lead to eight points on two occasions, but the deficit proved to be too much.
Marshall held a solid advantage in most stat categories, outshooting the Blazers, .453-.383, outrebounding UAB 39-33 and finishing with a 15-5 advantage in assists. The Herd also did a solid job holding onto the ball, committing just 11 turnovers.
Aside from her 16-point, 9-rebound performance, Tynikki Crook blocked four shots while recording two assists. Baker had a stellar all-around game, scoring eight points to go along with seven rebounds, six assists and four steals.
Conference USA's leading scorer, UAB guard Britney Jones, led the Blazers with 23 points on 10-of-22 shooting. She was the only Blazer in double figures.
After tying its best start, the Herd will look for its best outright conference start since the 1988-89 season when its started Southern Conference play with a 6-1 mark, as it plays host to Memphis on Saturday at noon.
The game will be broadcast on CSS. Tickets are still available and are buy one, get one free. The first 300 fans will receive a free t-shirt.