Nov. 18, 2005
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall women's basketball team used a workmanlike performance in its season-opener to upend the visiting Tennessee State Lady Tigers, 81-57, in the second semifinal game of the Fifth Third MU Classic at the Cam Henderson Center. The Thundering Herd will face South Carolina State in the championship game on Saturday at 1 p.m., with TSU facing Ohio in the consolation game at 11 a.m.
Marshall senior Sikeetha Shepard-Hall (Houston, Texas) netted a team-high 16 points for the Herd, who move to 7-0 all-time in Fifth Third MU Classic contests. Shepard-Hall added seven rebounds, three assists and three steals in only 19 minutes of play. Junior center Modupe Ishola (Washington, D.C.) scored 11 points and grabbed seven boards while fellow junior KaShawna Curry (Huntington, W.Va.) recorded nine points and seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Tennessee State (0-1) trailed by only five points at halftime before the Herd (1-0) broke the game open in the second half. Marshall opened the half on a 21-7 run and held TSU to no 3-point field goals after yielding three in the first half, all from senior Leslie Dean.
Dean finished with 18 points and eight boards, but turned the ball over six times. TSU's Obiageli Okafor went 5-of-13 from the floor for 14 points with eight rebounds.
"I was very happy with our team game," Marshall head coach Royce Chadwick said. "We played together and screened well for each other. We played good five-person basketball."
The Herd shot a stout 53.8 percent from the floor in the second stanza, compared to 23.3 percent for the Lady Tigers to radically change the momentum of the game from the first to second half.
"I don't know that we made any changes," Chadwick said. "We just decided that we needed to get stops. We didn't want to have any tricks, just go out and play good man defense, and I think that helped build our team chemistry and camaraderie as we went along."
The Herd's Mary Pat Statler
(New Cumberland, W.Va.) began her senior campaign with seven points and six assists with a steal.
The Herd's win was its fourth straight victory in a season opener and fifth straight win in a home opener. MU will go for its fourth straight Fifth Third tournament title on Saturday against SCSU.
South Carolina State defeated Ohio 80-68 in the tournament's opening game. SCSU's Fallon Tucker scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Bulldogs past the Bobcats.
Saturday's action can be heard live on WMUL 88.1-FM