Marshall outlasts Louisiana Tech for 5-1 conference start


Richard Crank

Shayna Gore celebrates after hitting multiple three-pointers in a row during Marshall’s 2018-19 Herd Madness event.

The Marshall Thundering Herd women’s basketball team won its third straight Conference USA game Thursday, when it outlasted Louisiana Tech in triple overtime, 90-88, and advanced its conference record to 5-1.

The prolonged game was Marshall’s second of the season and its first triple overtime contest since the 2007 season.

“That is a great way to win a basketball game,” Marshall head coach Tony Kemper said in a postgame interview.

The Herd played through seven periods of hard-fought basketball with neither team refusing to secede to the other. The pivotal moment came deep in the triple overtime period of play, when Louisiana Tech’s sophomore guard Amber Dixon fouled Marshall sophomore forward Taylor Pearson, who sank two free throws to secure a Herd victory.

The Herd would then go on to hold the lead for the remainder of the game until a missed 3-pointer by Louisiana Tech’s leading scorer, senior guard Kierra Anthony, ended the game.

Kemper said the Herd guarded well enough to win in triple overtime.

“That was a little bit tougher schematically than what we tried to do,” he said. “So, it is not surprising that we did have a couple of times where we didn’t do it right. But we fought hard enough to win the game. It wasn’t perfect, [Louisiana Tech] wasn’t either but we fought our tails off to win the game.”

The Herd struggled in the second period of play with nine costly turnovers that allowed Louisiana Tech to capitalize and keep the score close throughout the game. Despite the struggle early on, the Herd still managed to win the turnover battle with 18 turnovers and 14 steals total to Louisiana Tech’s 27 turnovers and nine steals.

The Herd’s offense found itself going shot-for-shot with Louisiana Tech early in the matchup. Marshall’s leading scorer, senior guard Shayna Gore, totaled 30 points, going 12-for-26 in field goals, 2-for-9 in 3-pointers, and 4-for-5 in free throws, while senior guard Taylor Porter followed close behind with 22 points and junior forward Khadaijia Brooks with 19, which helped pushed the Herd ahead.

“We [have] good basketball players,” Kemper said. “Obviously, [Gore] puts 30 on [Louisiana Tech]. Porter with 22 and Brooks’ shot to send us into first or second or third overtime. I can’t remember which. I mean we [have] some players that can get you.”

Similarly, Louisiana Tech’s Anthony scored a game-high 34 points, while Dixon followed close behind with 18 points.

Kemper said Louisiana Tech deserved credit; it was a good game.

“They threw in a lot of good punches on the road,” he said. “They were tough. They were resilient, and I guess at the end of the day, we were every bit of that plus two points.”

With this win the Herd advanced its record to 11-8, while Louisiana Tech fell to 10-10.

Kemper said that the team knows how it has to play in order to win games.

“I’ve been here for seven years, and we are in the middle of a stretch that I have never seen us play this tough, hard-nosed, together,” he said. “It is not always perfect, but they have put together a stretch of games where they have figured out how to win basketball games. A lot of times, it is ugly. A lot of times, it is hard, and we have become okay with it and have embraced it. That is how we have gotten to 5-1.”

Similarly, Gore and Brooks said that they believe they can go out and win games.

“I’ve been believing since the ODU game, even though we had a little hick up at WKU,” Gore said. “We have obviously bounced back. We stay together. We don’t fight with each other. We might have our moments here and there, but we bounce back in like a few seconds. I have not been a part of a team this close since my sophomore year of high school, and we made it to the State Championships.”

“This is probably the closest type of family that I have ever had,” Brooks said. “It is like a home away from home. I feel like the chemistry of our team, just in general, is probably the best I have ever been a part of.”

Marshall will play its next game Saturday at the Cam Henderson Center, when the Thundering Herd will take on The University of Southern Mississippi in a Conference USA matchup. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m.