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Herd Suffers 75-36 Defeat at Middle Tennessee

Freshman McKenzie Akers

Feb. 19, 2014

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Despite all 12 of its active roster players reaching the scoreboard, it was a tough evening for the Thundering Herd, as it suffered its most lopsided loss this season at Middle Tennessee, 75-36, in front of a raucous crowd of 3,032 at Murphy Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Marshall dropped to 9-16, 2-10 in Conference USA, falling to league leader Middle Tennessee, which improved to 22-4, 11-1.

Junior Aja Sorrells (Athens, Ga.) gave Marshall a 2-0 advantage by scoring the first bucket of the contest at 19:26, but it would be the Herd’s only lead of the game. After keeping the score relatively close for the next few minutes, a 7-0 run from 16:08 to 14:30 extended MT’s lead to double digits. A Suporia Dickens (Freeport, Ill.) 3-pointer made it 19-12 at 14:03, but the Blue Raiders’ Laken Leonard countered with a three of her own to go push MT back up by 10 at 13:31.

Both teams were scoreless for the next three minutes, until two free throws by MT’s China Dow gave the Blue Raiders a 12-point advantage at 10:24, up 24-12. Marshall was held without a basket from 14:03 to 9:37, until Chelsey Romero (Hampton, Va.) sunk a free throw and then Norrisha Victrum (Columbia, S.C.) converted an and-one to erase MT’s double-digit lead at 8:41, down 25-16. The next few minutes would be detrimental for Marshall, as the Blue Raiders exploded offensively for a 13-0 run over 4:24, going up 37-16. In that span, the Herd went 0-of-5 from the field and committed three turnovers.

After an Erica Woods (St. George, Bermuda) layup broke the run, MT countered with five unanswered points to go up, 41-18, with 2:33 before halftime. Two free throws by Ebony Rowe gave the Raiders a largest lead of 25, but a Sorrells field goal settled the halftime score at 43-20. Turnovers were crucial for Marshall in the first half, as the Blue Raiders converted 16 points off the Herd’s 11 errors.

After opening the half outscoring the Blue Raiders, 7-3, MT held Marshall scoreless from 16:32 to 10:27, a scoring drought spanning over six minutes, which included a 5-0 run. From that point, Marshall was without a field goal until 1:51, going 0-of-11 from the field, and was scoreless from 5:31 to 1:51. The Herd hit its largest deficit of the season of 38 at 3:53, down 71-33, but it wasn’t MT’s largest lead of the game. The Blue Raiders went up by 40 with 2:06 to go. The final buzzer sounded with Marshall down, 75-36.

Everything went right for the Blue Raiders, who dominated virtually every statistic. They held the advantage in the paint (32-8), points off turnovers (26-8), second chance points (20-8), fast break points (2-0) and bench points (19-14). MT outrebounded Marshall, 51-33, and had 18 assists to the Herd’s four.

No Marshall player found double digits, as McKenzie Akers (Princeton, W.Va.) led the team from the field with seven points (2-of-6 field goals). The last time the Herd scored 40 or fewer points was two years ago to the day, when Marshall defeated UAB, 40-37 (Feb. 19, 2012).

On a more positive note, Romero recorded two blocks, giving her 38 for the season and tying Leandra King (2011-12) for seventh place in the Marshall record book. She needs two to tie King’s fourth-place record (2012-13).

Next, the Herd will visit Miami for a meeting with FIU, Saturday, at 6 p.m. For all the latest information about Marshall women’s basketball, follow @HerdWBB on Twitter.