Basketball

UAB’s 3-Pointers Send Herd Women To 5th Straight Loss

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Rachael Childress made 7-of-10 3-point attempts to lead a powerful 3-point barrage by the host UAB women’s basketball team in a 71-55 wire-to-wire defeat of visiting Marshall Thursday evening in Bartow Arena. The win improved the Blazers to 13-12 overall and 6-8 in Conference USA, while Marshall dropped its fifth straight game (and ninth loss in its last 11 games) to fall to 12-12 and 4-9 in league play. UAB used its league leading 3-points shooting percentage to bury the Herd with 13-of-24 threes on the night, shooting well over its 38.5% on 3-shooting coming in.

Childress finished with 21 points, while Deanna Kuzmanic added 12 and a game-high seven rebounds, and that duo made a combined 11-of-18 3-point attempts (61.1%). Whytney Singleton had six assists and Kara Rawls contributed three blocks. Keonna Farmer, who leads UAB with nearly seven rebounds per game, was blanked on the glass in just nine minutes of action due to foul trouble and scored only two points.

Marshall was led by 14 points from Huntington senior forward Kiana Evans (6-for-11 shooting, 1-of-5 from three and 1-of-2 at the line) and sophomore Shayna Gore’s 11 points (4-of-10 FG and 3-of-6 from three) and a game-high four steals. Evans, Talequia Hamilton and Porter all had six rebounds, and Porter added four assists. The Blazers made life difficult for Hamilton inside (2-for-10 from floor, 1-of-3 from three and 4-of-8 at the line) as the Huntington senior came into the game second in the conference in field goal percentage (56.0%).

“We were a little more stagnant tonight on both ends than anticipated,” said Marshall coach Matt Daniel of the loss, the fifth loss in a row and the sixth loss in seven games for the Herd. “We missed crucial assignments, and they made us pay. We did a good job taking care of the ball for the first three quarters but started the fourth with three-straight turnovers. We dug a hole and climbed back out, dug another and climbed back out again, but didn’t make them pay from the free throw line at critical times.

“We are banged up, but I wish I could say things were going to get easier. It just doesn’t happen in this league. We have to rally around each other, keep the home insulated from distraction, and get back after it.”

The two teams are 1-2 in the league in 3-pointers per game and combined for 21 made threes on Thursday (UAB hit 13-of-24, 54.2%, while Marshall hit 8-of-29, 27.6%). The Blazers came in leading the league in 3-point percentage (38.5), while the Thundering Herd entered as the top team in 3-point percentage defense (28.5).

UAB held commanding advantages in bench points (22-11) and rebounds (40-30), that helped the Blazers to outscore the Herd in the paint, 24-to-18. Marshall had an edge in steals, 8-3, and in turnovers, forcing 16 while giving up just 12 and outscoring UAB off turnovers 15-to-13.

UAB jumped out to a 24-13 lead on a Janeka Williams layup just 12 seconds into the second quarter, after the Blazers jumped to a 22-13 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to hitting 5-of-10 threes to open the game. Marshall responded with a 13-3 run to pull within one (27-26) on a Hamilton 3-pointer with 5:54 to play until halftime. UAB settled down, and led at halftime by eight, 38-30.

The two teams battled to a 17-all draw in the third quarter and Marshall chopped the lead to seven (59-52) on a Porter jumper with 5:39 left in the fourth period. However, UAB answered with a free throw, a layup and two 3-pointers to push the margin back to 14 (68-54) with 2:18 left.

Gore hit three 3-pointers (of six attempts) to give her 55 for the season, tying her with Natal Rosko (1994-95) for fourth in the school’s single-season records and passing teammate McKenzie Akers (53, 2014-15). Gore now has 106 for her career, tying her at No. 9 all-time with Kristi Huff (1988-92).

McKenzie Akers hit one 3-pointers in the game, and now has her career number up to 125 made threes, No. 4 all-time. She needs six more to tie Cindy McCauley (131, 1994-98) at No. 3, while Sikeetha Shepard-Hall leads all-time with 146 (2002-06) made threes.

The Thundering Herd will face Middle Tennessee (16-9, 12-3 overall) at 3 p.m. EST on Saturday, Feb. 18. The Blue Raiders dropped an 82-75 decision at home to rival WKU Thursday evening in the “100 Miles of Hate” series the two teams brought with them from their days in the Sun Belt Conference.

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