HUNTINGTON — Up three at halftime, Marshall women’s basketball was unable to hold the lead over Houston and fell to the Cougars, 71-63, on Sunday afternoon in the Cam Henderson Center.
The Thundering Herd dropped to 6-11 (0-4 C-USA) with the loss, while Houston improved to 8-8 (2-1 C-USA).
The Herd fell despite forward Suporia Dickens posting a career best 17 rebounds.
She totaled five on the offensive board and 12 on defense, posting a total that ranks No. 18 all-time in rebounds in a game in Marshall’s history.
Erica Woods and Norrisha Victrum led the Herd offense with 14 points each.
Woods went 5-of-6 from the free throw line, while Victrum was 6-of-14 from the field.
Woods added six rebounds and five assists.
The third-best scorer in C-USA, averaging 17.3 points per game, Houston’s Porsche Landry led the Cougars with 24 points, going 7-for-12 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line.
Three different Cougar players scored double-digit rebound totals including Te’onna Campbell (12), Marissa Ashton (11) and Yasmeen Thompson (10), and Campbell and Ashton each recorded a double-double after adding 14 and 17 points, respectively.
A majority of Houston’s points came from the free throw line.
Marshall was whistled for 25 fouls, sending the Cougars to the line for 23-of-38 in free throws for the game.
“It was a weird game,” said Marshall Coach Matt Daniel.
“In free throws — we shot 15 and they shot 38. That is a lot of free throws. We played a lot of zone, because we got in foul trouble early.
“They scored 23 points from the free throw line. They made more free throws than they did field goals.”
Orlandria Williams nailed a three-pointer from the corner, leading Marshall with three made three-pointers and totaled 11 points for the game, to give MU an early lead, 7-4.
Despite the lead, Marshall was having trouble containing Houston’s Thompson.
The C-USA leader in rebounds, Thompson had six rebounds in the first five minutes of play.
The Herd next had nine-point run, topped off by Shay Weaver to make the score 19-9 with under nine minutes left in the opening period.
Weaver leads the conference in made three-pointers per game with 2.7 per contest.
Erica Woods totaled nine points in the first 17 minutes of play to help the Herd hold the lead to the half, but Houston’s Landry hit two three-pointers in a row in the final two-and-a-half minutes to trim Marshall’s lead to 33-30 at halftime.
After the first 20 minutes of play, Woods led the Herd with 11 points, while Dickens had nine rebounds.
Williams opened the second half with two three-pointers in the first five minutes, helping Marshall extended its lead to 41-36.
Houston then tied the game at 41-41 with 12 minutes left in the game.
The two teams battled for control of the lead for the next four minutes and Houston took its first lead since the opening basket with eight minutes left at 47-46.
A steal turned into a fast break layup by Dickens helped Marshall take back the lead with 6:30 left in the game and the Herd led, 52-49.
The lead changed twice in the ensuing four minutes, but the Cougars controlled the game with a 60-58 advantage with 2:30 left in the game.
The final two minutes showcased Houston outscoring Marshall, 11-5. The Cougars went 6-of-9 from the free throw line during the span to finish the game with a 71-63 win.
Marshall is off a week before it returns to the Cam Henderson Center for a game against UAB on Sunday, Jan. 27, a 2 p.m. tipoff.