Herd women win 3OT thriller
HUNTINGTON — Marshall University’s women’s basketball Thursday matchup with Louisiana Tech had a little bit of everything.
Three overtimes, a couple of lengthy officials’ reviews in double-overtime and one clutch trip to the foul line in triple-overtime that proved to be the difference.
Marshall’s Taylor Pearson hit two free throws after being fouled on an offensive rebound with two seconds left in triple-overtime and the Thundering Herd survived a desperation shot from Louisiana Tech’s Kierra Anthony to earn a 90-88 win over the Lady Techsters in front of 711 spectators at Cam Henderson Center.
“I didn’t expect three overtimes, but I expected a dang good basketball game. ...,” Marshall head coach Tony Kemper said. “There was some big shot-making out of both teams and, obviously, both teams were really tough.”
Pearson finished with just three points, but the final two were what mattered. They were a reward for the little plays, which included a team-high 10 rebounds and four assists for Marshall (11-8, 5-1 C-USA).
What makes it even sweeter is just two games ago Pearson struggled at the foul line in a 1-for-7 performance.
The game featured plenty of offensive firepower with two of Conference USA’s top scorers — LA Tech’s Kierra Anthony and Marshall’s Shayna Gore.
Anthony had 34 points and six assists while Gore scored 30. While Anthony got top honors in the individual scoring column on, Gore got the win after Anthony’s fadeaway at the buzzer fell short, sending the Herd into a celebration after a 55-minute battle.
Kemper gave high praise to LA Tech’s leader, who leads C-USA in average at 22 points per game.
“What do you do with 4 (Anthony)? She’s just going to drive it at you and shoot a Kobe (Bryant) fadeaway,” Kemper said. “There were some times that we lost her and there were some times in which she just buried a shot that you can’t do anything about.”
In the end, free throws seemed to be the most pivotal aspect of the contest.
In the first overtime, Louisiana Tech had a chance to win the game at the foul line, but the Lady Techsters missed four
of their six free throws in the final 35 seconds of the extra session — including three of four on one possession — which gave Marshall a chance to tie it up.
Khadaijia Brooks took advantage of the opportunity, nailing a 3-pointer from the wing with 15 seconds left to force a second overtime, which went back-and-forth, but did not determine a winner despite a pair of lengthy reviews on plays in the final minute of the session.
The end of regulation was also wild as the Lady Techsters needed some magic from Anthony to force an extra session.
With the game tied 61-61, LA Tech missed a shot and Gore was fouled with 9.7 seconds left. She knocked down both free throws, but a drive by Anthony knotted the game and Louisiana Tech was able to force the Herd into a pair of misses that led to overtime.
The game settled into a back-and-forth battle in the second quarter after Louisiana Tech used its full-court pressure defense to counter an early surge by the Herd.
Marshall led 27-24 at the half, courtesy of a 3-point play from Princess Clemons with 55 seconds left. It was one of only three field goals for Marshall in the second quarter.
The full-court press of LA Tech forced Marshall into nine turnovers in the second quarter, but the Lady Techsters had 10 of their own while also not getting a field goal in the final 6:54.
Brooks got Marshall off to a strong start with a pair of 3-pointers in the early going before Taylor Porter got her offensive game on track with five points during a 9-0 run that produced a 17-5 lead for the Herd.
Anthony scored seven points during a 12-0 run between the first and second quarters that got Louisiana Tech (10-10, 2-5 C-USA) back into the contest.
Porter finished with 22 points for the Herd while Brooks added 19. Amber Dixon had 18 points and Raizel Guinto added 14 for LA Tech.
Marshall returns to action at 1 p.m. Saturday when the Herd takes on Southern Miss at Cam Henderson Center.