Hammond eclipsed her previous career mark of 23 points, set two years ago at Niagara, but it took a while for the offense to find its groove in the first half, notching just two points over the first seven minutes of the contest. While the Marshall offense was struggling, UCF was able to open up a quick 10-2 advantage. The Herd began the game just 1-of-8 from the floor while committing nine turnovers in the first eight minutes.
After combining to score 34 points over the first 14 minutes of the half, both offenses were hitting on all cylinders over the final six minutes. The teams combined to score 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting. A Hammond jumper with just over a minute remaining cut the lead to a point, 29-28, before two late UCF field goals gave the Knights a 34-30 lead at the half.
Early in the second half, UCF rolled up an 11-point advantage, its largest of the contest, with 13 minutes left in the game. Back came the Herd with a furious charge at that point, holding UCF without a field goal for four minutes while chopping the lead to six, 53-47. The run continued as Marshall eventually tied the game at 55-55 with 7:16 remaining after Baker found an open Crook under the basket.
It was all Knights from that point, however, as UCF went on an 18-6 run to take a 12-point lead. Two more treys from Wiley capped off the run for the Knights. Late threes by Hammond and Alix Barnette helped MU cut the lead to single digits, but the lead proved to be too much to overcome and UCF won the game, 75-67.
Marshall finished with a 32-27 advantage on the glass against the top rebounding team in the conference and out-shot the Knights by hitting 53 percent from the floor to just 47 percent for UCF. One major difference for the Knights came at the free throw line as UCF hit 13-of-17 free throws while Marshall shot only 11 times at the line, hitting seven.
Sophomore forward Tynikki Crook notched 12 points for Marshall while senior guard Casey Baker scored 11 and led the team with eight rebounds. Aside from Wiley, UCF was led by a double-double from Emma Cannon (14 points and a game high ten rebounds). Aisha Patrick also scored 14 for the Knights.
Marshall will return home for three of the next four games, starting with the Green Wave of Tulane at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5, at the Henderson Center before traveling to El Paso, Texas to face the Miners of UTEP on Sunday, Feb. 8. Then Marshall will return home to host the Knights of UCF on February 13 at 7 p.m. before facing Southern Miss' Golden Eagles, who beat MU last Thursday, on the Feb. 15 at 3:30 p.m. (ET). That contest will mark the yearly "Jam The Cam" game and will be nationally televised on ESPN2. All MU women's games can be heard on the Marshall student station, WMUL 88.1 FM, and on the web at www.marshall.edu/wmul on the web.