March 5, 2009
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NEW ORLEANS -
Tynikki Crook posted 24 points, nine rebounds and five steals as seventh-seeded Marshall defeated No. 10 seed Memphis, 76-57, in game four of the 2009 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship Thursday evening at Fogelman Arena.
The Thundering Herd scored the first points of the day on a Chantelle Handy layup and never trailed in the coast-to-coast victory. With the win, Marshall improves to 16-14 on the year and advances to play second-seeded UTEP in the C-USA Quarterfinals on Friday at 8 p.m. Memphis, meanwhile, concludes the 2008-09 season at 12-18.
Marshall scored the first six points of the game and the Herd's advantage hovered between seven and nine for much of the opening stanza. Memphis cut the lead to three at 20-17 with 8:29 left in the half, but Marshall responded by scoring six of the next eight points and went into the halftime break up 39-32.
It was a similar story in the second half as the Tigers kept fighting but each time they got close, Marshall would answer to keep Memphis at arm's length. The Tigers cut the lead to a trey four times in the final 20 minutes of play with the last coming at 8:20 when a pair of Paris Leonard free throws made it 54-51. From there, however, Marshall went on a 10-3 run to stretch the lead to double digits and the lead continued to swell as the game progressed.
Crook was one of three Marshall players to tally double-digit scoring totals as Handy finished with 18 on 8-of-15 shooting while Casey Baker had 10. One reason the Herd were able to pull away late was their performance at the free throw line where Marshall was a perfect 18-of-18, including sinking all 14 shots in the second half.
Ashley Thornton and Alex Winchell tied for Memphis team-high scoring honors with 14 apiece, and Savannah Ellis was close behind with 12. Thornton, Ellis and Winchell posted six rebound each to tie for the team lead