Bench play pushes Lady Toppers past Marshall 74-60

WKU’s senior guard Ileana Johnson makes a layup after a turnover and breakaway during the Lady Topper’s 74-60 win over Marshall, Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015, at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky. Johnson contributed three steals and a block to the Lady Topper’s win which moves their record to 21-4.

Jonah Phillips

WKU’s bench play helped push the Lady Toppers past the Marshall Thundering Herd on Saturday 74-60. 

Freshmen Tashia Brown and Ivy Brown combined for 16 points off the bench, which proved crucial for the 21-4, 10-2 in C-USA Lady Toppers as seniors Alexis Govan and Chastity Gooch both picked up fourth fouls early in the second half. Tashia Brown finished with 11 points in 27 minutes while Ivy Brown had five points.

“When it got to be around the seven-minute mark, we really started guarding,” Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard said. “Their shots started getting contested and they started missing some.  I was just really proud of our girls that we responded that way.”

Despite foul trouble, Govan finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and four steals, marking her sixth career double-double. Gooch finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Govan and Gooch each picked up their third fouls in the final 0:15 of the first half.

The Lady Toppers held Marshall (14-9, 6-6) to 38.7 percent shooting from the field, including a 32.3 percent mark in the first half. 

Marshall—who shot 1-of-16 from behind the arc last contest—hit eight three-pointers in Saturday’s contest.

WKU held a 15-point lead in the first half at 34-19 with 3:19 left, but Marshall fired back, scoring the final five points of the half.

The Herd also scored the first four out the break to cut the Lady Topper lead to 38-32 with 19:06 left.

Marshall brought the game even closer at the 9:42 mark—remaining within six points at 56-50 after a 7-0 run.  

“At the end of the day, when they brought it within six points, we started to step up in different situations,” Clark-Heard said. “We got some crucial rebounds, and we started stepping up and making free throws.”

The Lady Toppers pulled away in the final 10 minutes of the game, with Govan and Gooch re-entering play with roughly four minutes left in regulation and a 15-point lead.

Junior guard Micah Jones also had 10 points for WKU while redshirt sophomore Kendall Noble had eight points, five rebounds and six assists. 

Marshall had four players in double figures, led by Chukwuka Ezeigbo and AJ Johnson with 12 points each.

WKU returns to John Oldham Court at E.A. Diddle Arena next Thursday against UAB at 7 p.m. CT.