CHARLESTON – The Marshall women’s basketball team fought hard but in the end lose its first game of the season 66-60 to the WVU Mountaineers in the annual Capital Classic Sunday night.
“I thought our kids really battled in a game that means something to them and everyone in our locker room,” Herd coach Matt Daniel said. “Whether they’ve been in this game before, or know it like our local kids. I thought the environment was great. I thought we played okay, but I think we can play better. I thought it was the right game for our team at the right time and I really like our roster.”
Marshall came out firing in the first quarter hitting three of its first four shots, all from 3-point range. The Herd started the game on a 9-2 run before the Mountaineers went on a run of its own to tie the game at 9-9. The two teams traded baskets as the Herd led at the end of the quarter 13-11.
Senior Leah Scott (Detroit, Mich.) led Marshall in the second quarter scoring 10 of her 15 first half points. She has reached double figures in 17 straight games.
Both teams traded runs once again but the Mountaineers took the lead at the end of the half, 33-30.
In the third quarter WVU took command to take a 10-point lead. Marshall fought its way back in to the game thanks to great play from junior Chelsey Romero (Hampton, Va.) and senior Norrisha Victrum (Columbia, S.C.). Romero took control inside and even buried her second 3-pointer of the season. Victrum continued to dish out the assists and find the open player.
Victrum has recorded an assist in 62 consecutive games.
The fourth quarter was a battle all the way through as Marshall kept wearing away at the Mountaineer lead, but then WVU would answer to keep the Herd at arm’s length. Marshall whittled the lead down to three with 7:01 to go in the game. WVU scored five consecutive points to go back up by eight and would hold the lead to the end.
Marshall only committed nine turnovers, while WVU had 16. “When you turn the ball over nine times against West Virginia, I think that’s an accomplishment,” Coach Daniel said. “But make no mistake about it, there are no moral victories in this game any longer for us. We’re here to try and win.”
Scott finished the game with 24 points giving her 959 for her career. Romero led the Herd with eight rebounds and three blocks. Her eight boards gives her 400 career rebounds.
Up next for Marshall, the Herd will host St. Francis (Pa.) Thursday Dec. 17 in the Cam. Tipoff is scheduled for 12 p.m.
Eastern Kentucky 72
HUNTINGTON – Junior guard Austin Loop (South Webster, Ohio) sunk a career-high eight 3-pointers en route to a dominant 96-72 win for Marshall men’s basketball (2-6) over Eastern Kentucky (7-4) on Saturday night at Cam Henderson Center.
Loop shot a blistering 80 percent from long range (8-of-10) and ended the night 9-of-13 from the field for a career-high 26 points. He is the first player from Marshall to sink eight or more 3-pointers since Elijah Pittman had eight against UNC Wilmington on Nov. 23, 2013.
Marshall’s 24-point margin of victory is its largest since a 28-point win (77-49) over Presbyterian on Jan. 5, 2014. The Herd’s 96 points are the most against a Division I opponent since pouring 96 on UNC Wilmington on Nov. 23, 2013 (96-78).
Marshall held EKU to zero second-chance points, while scoring 21 of its own. The Herd had other advantages in rebounding (44-30), points off turnovers (22-12) and steals (11-8). Marshall out-shot the Colonels, 50.7 percent to 47.6 percent. The Herd scored 15 threes (15-of-32) while EKU had eight (8-of-19).
Senior James Kelly (Ann Arbor, Mich.) led the Herd with a career-high 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting and added nine rebounds. Junior Stevie Browning (Logan, W.Va.), a 6-foot-3 guard, led Marshall with career highs of 12 rebounds and seven assists. Junior forward Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis) posted his second double-double of the year (23rd of his career) with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Redshirt freshman C.J. Burks (Martinsburg, W.Va.) rounded out double-figure scoring for Marshall with 14 points.
Marshall started the half a little slow as EKU built out a nine-point lead at 19-10 through the first six minutes. The Herd came storming back sparked by three 3-pointers in a four minute span from Loop/ Marshall took the lead with 8:30 remaining at 31-29.
The Herd gained some quick points during the run with a dunk from Kelly, a lay-up from Browning and a quick jumper off of a steal by Burks. Over the four-minute span to take the lead, the Herd improved its shooting percentage from 40 percent to 52 percent.
Loop continued his hot hand through the end of the half, burying six 3-pointers, reaching his previous career high, and leading Marshall into the locker room with a 10-point lead, 48-38.
Marshall came out for the second half on fire immediately going on an 8-0 run. The Herd used a balanced attack driving to the basket and shooting from outside to build the lead to over 20 for much of the second half.
With 10:44 remaining, the Colonels reached within 17 points of the Herd, down 75-58, but that was as close as the game would be. Marshall pulled away to an ultimate lead of 27 with 1:18 to go. EKU’s Dujuanta Weaver sunk a three to put the final score at 96-72, with the Herd on top.