Marshall Women’s Basketball Storms Past Elon, 79-69 Crook, Mitchell and Ruiz grab double-doubles

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.- Three Marshall players earned double-doubles en route to a 79-69 Thundering Herd victory verse Elon in Thursday night’s nonconference women’s basketball game at the Cam Henderson Center. Alaya Mitchell scored 13 of her career-high 15 points during the second half, also finishing the night with 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals. Tynikki Crook led all scorers with 21 points to go along with 11 rebounds.

“We did it on the defensive end,” head coach Royce Chadwick said. “Our defense in the second half was especially strong. Offensively we spread the wealth around and had a lot of people make contributions.”

The Thundering Herd (4-8) grabs its fourth win of the season and its third straight against Elon. The Phoenix has dropped four of its last six to fall to 6-5 on the year.

MU dug itself a hole early in the contest for the second straight game, falling behind 7-0 before Crook put the Herd on the board draining one of two free throws and following with a layup in the subsequent possession.

Freshman Dorina Barrett would help to spark the Herd in the first half, dishing out five assists to go along with six points in the opening stanza. But the Phoenix would maintain the lead behind Shon Redmond’s career night. Redmond would finish the half with nine of her 17 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field.

Crook eliminated Elon’s 33-30 halftime lead, draining her first career three-pointer for the game’s first tie. Barrett followed with a layup off a Mitchell steal giving the Herd its first lead of the contest with 17:58 remaining.

The team’s traded buckets throughout most of the half, battling to 11 lead changes and seven ties in the contest but a 13-0 Thundering Herd run with five minutes to go in the game proved to be the difference.

Elon took advantage of Marshall’s 52.9% free throw shooting down the stretch to come within six, at 72-66 with 1:10 remaining following an Ali Ford three-pointer. But the Herd would connect on three of its next six free throws to bring the lead back to nine.

Mitchell and Ruiz exploded in the second half for a combined 22 points, 19 rebounds and five assists, with each earning their first career double-doubles. Ruiz ended the night with a game-high 12 rebounds, nine coming on the offensive glass to complement her 11 points.

Barrett threw in a career-high 15 points of her own to go along with six assists and two steals while appearing in all 40 minutes of action.

Kelsey Evans and Ford each added 12 points for the Phoenix, while Tiara Gause contributed 11 points off the bench.

Marshall owned a 52-30 advantage on the glass, including 19 offensive boards, helping to 16 second chance points.

The Thundering Herd begins Conference USA action on January 6th, when it travels to Memphis for an 8 p.m. tipoff. Marshall returns home for its first nationally televised contest of the season when its hosts UTEP on January 9th. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m., at the Cam Henderson Center.