Brown carries Lady Tops to season sweep of Marshall

Sam Porter

After having their NCAA tournament hopes shattered by Marshall last season, the WKU Women’s Basketball team completed a season sweep of the Herd in 2016-17 after Saturday’s 78-64 victory in Huntington, West Virginia.

The Lady Tops were led by junior forward Ivy Brown’s career-best 27 points and Conference USA Player of the Year candidate Kendall Noble’s double-double of 18 points and 10 assists.

The win improves the Lady Tops to 18-6 (10-2 C-USA) and sets up a showdown against Middle Tennessee State (16-8, 11-2 C-USA) this Thursday in a matchup that will help decide first place in the conference.

As for Saturday’s contest, WKU opened the gates running as senior guard Micah Jones drained a three and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers hit a jumper to give WKU a 5-0 lead right off the bat. The Lady Tops led nearly the whole third quarter until Marshall scored five unanswered points to give the Thundering Herd a 17-14 lead after the 1st quarter. Trailing 18-14 in the second quarter, the Lady Tops went on a 17-2 run, holding Marshall scoreless for over six minutes. The run propelled the Lady Tops to a 31-20 lead.

However, Marshall went on another 5-0 run to end the quarter and cut the deficit to 31-25 at the half. The Lady Tops were held to 12 of 33 shooting (36.4%) in the first half. Marshall’s momentum carried over to the second half. The Thundering Herd opened the second half on an 8-2 run to tie the game at 33. That’s when Ivy Brown started to take over.

The Hodgenville, Kentucky, native scored 21 of her 27 points in the second half as WKU and Marshall continued to trade buckets. Despite Brown’s dominance underneath, the Lady Tops struggled to create a ton of separation as the game was tied on seven different occasions in the third quarter.

Neither team led by more than three points as WKU held on to a 52-49 lead heading into the final quarter. Brown continued to dominate, draining a three that started an 11-4 run to give the Lady Tops a double digit lead. Brown scored seven of WKU’s 11 points during the run.

Marshall cut the lead back to eight, but a bucket by freshman guard Whitney Creech pushed the lead back to double digits, and the Thundering Herd never got closer after that, as the Lady Tops held on for a 78-64 victory.

WKU shot 56.4 percent in the second half opposed to their 36.4 percent shooting in the first half.

With C-USA foe Charlotte sitting in third place in the conference standings with four losses, the winner of Thursday’s matchup between WKU and MTSU will be able to open up a one-and-a-half-game lead over MTSU. If the Lady Tops win, they will also own the tiebreaker if the two teams finish the regular season with the same record in the conference.

Reporter Sam Porter can be reached at 270-799-8247and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @SammyP14.