...outscoring Marshall (12-12, 5-6 C-USA) by a 41-23 margin in the latter stanza to deal the Herd its fifth straight loss.
Barnette tied the game high in scoring with 17 points, a season high. She was the only Herd player to reach double figures. Emma Cannon of the Knights also scored 17 while grabbing 12 boards, a game high.
Marshall's Raechele Gray drove past UCF's Chelsie Wiley. Gray scored seven points in 22 minutes of play. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
A defensive struggle ensued in the first half with the teams entering halftime knotted at 27 all. The Knights had the hot hand early, jumping out to an early 8-5 lead five minutes in. A bucket by Alix Barnette cut the deficit to a point before a free throw by Alyssa Hammond tied the game at 8-8.
With the game tied at 14-14 with eight minutes remaining in the first half, a 6-0 run gave the Herd the largest lead either team would enjoy in the half. Barnette scored four in the run.
UCF came right back, scoring four of the next five points to make it a three-point game. With Marshall holding on to a 24-20 lead with four minutes left in the half, Chelsie Wiley, who scored 30 points in the first meeting in Orlando, hit her first trey of the game to bring the Knights within a point. Down two in the final seconds of the period, Marshay White of UCF hit a shot to tie the game at the half.
Tynikki Crook was held scoreless from the field, including this shot over UCF's Emma Cannon. Crook did hit two free throws and grabbed 11 rebounds in the loss, however. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
A 9-0 game-changing run put UCF up 36-27 to start the second half. Cannon led the way for the Knights as she was responsible for seven of those nine points. Marshall fell short in its shooting over that four-minute stretch, going 0-7 with four turnovers.
Raechele Gray, who played a career-high 22 minutes while scoring seven points, another career mark, ended the run with a jumper. After an Angelica Harris free throw cut the lead to six, 36-30, UCF quickly pulled out to a 10-point advantage.
After a lay-up by Keona Brooks cut the lead to six with 10:44 remaining, the Knights seemingly put the game away, scoring 11 of the next 14 points on its way to a 55-41 advantage with five minutes remaining. The lead would grow to as many as 20 points, 68-48, in the final minutes before two late free throws made it a 68-50 final in favor of UCF.
UCF outshot the Herd, .531-.348 for the game. The second half is where the Herd struggled. After shooting .435 in the opening half, MU shot just .261 in the latter period. The Knights also made a difference at the charity stripe. UCF missed all nine free throw attempts in the first half, but went 14-of-16 from the line in the final half. Marshall was 16-of-32 from the free throw line.
The Herd won the rebounding battle, 35-34, a total that included 17 offensive boards. Marshall also recorded seven blocked shots, five courtesy of Tynikki Crook.
Chantelle Handy played keep-away with UCF's Aisha Patrick in the first half. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
On Sunday, the Herd will look to put an end to the losing streak on Sunday as it plays host to Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles are tied for the C-USA lead with UCF as both stand at 9-2. Southern Miss lost a game at East Carolina on Friday night.
Tip is set for 3:30 on ESPN2. It will mark the Eight Annual Jam the Cam game. Tickets are only $1. Several promotions will take place during the contest.