Nov. 30, 2007
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Behind 14-points efforts from Alix Barnette and Alyssa Hammond, the Thundering Herd women's basketball team dominated Jackson State, taking down the Tigers 87-61, in the first game of the Sixth-Annual Fifth Third MU Classic.
The win marks the Herd's third straight and second in as many home games while evening its record at 3-3.
Marshall head coach Royce Chadwick was once against satisfied with the team effort. "Our second half was much better than the first, I thought we played much better defense in the second half," Chadwick said. "We settled in and we got some things established that we did not get in the first half."
"Our depth was very important in the second half as the game wore on. We were excited to give everyone a chance to show what they can do."
Jackson State (2-4) had the upper hand early in the contest, taking an early 12-8 lead on a jumper by LaSharee Christian. That would the Tigers' largest as Marshall would claw back and tied the game at 14 on a free throw shot by Meagan Samis.
From that point on, it was all Marshall. A lay-up with just under 12 minutes left in the half by Samis gave the Herd a 16-14 lead. Marshall's largest lead of the half came when Casey Baker hit a lay-up with over eight minutes left to make it a 25-18 game. The rest of the half was a back-and-forth battle with the Herd settling for a six-point halftime lead.
Marshall showed its domination in the second half, connecting on 18 field goals en route to a 26-point win. The Herd started the second half on a 23-4 run to make it a 58-33 game. Marshall's defense set the tone, allowing only one JSU field goal through the first 8+ minutes of that half.
The offense also came through, shooting 62.1% from the field in the latter half while extending the lead to as many as 30 points. The Tigers were able to slightly cut into the lead over the reigning minutes of the game, but would get no closer than 26 as the Herd would take the win, 87-61.
Samis kept the Herd in the game early, scoring ten of her 12 points in the first half. In a 52-point second half, it was Alix Barnette and Alyssam Hammond who stole the show, scoring 12 and 10 points in the latter half, respectively.
Hammond came close to notching her first career double-double, finishing with 14 points and nine boards. Samis finished the game with five boards, second for the Herd.
The defense was not only strong in the second half, but also played a strong part throughout the game, holding Jackson State to only 37.9% shooting for the game. For the third game-in-a-row, the Herd grabbed 40 rebounds, while holding JSU to 33.
Marshall was once against dominant in the paint, outscoring JSU 38-16 in that category. The Herd also took advantage of 21 Tiger turnovers, turning them into 37 points.
Late in the game, Rebecca Bays and Kari James came in, with both making solid impacts. Bays recorded her first assist in six minutes of play while James notched six points and two rebounds.
In the second game of the day, Pittsburgh topped Harvard in dominant fashion, 70-54. The Panthers had three players finish in double-figures, led by Marcedes Walker and Shavonte Zellous, who each had 14. Walker also had 13 rebounds. Chelsea Cole also had a double-double, tallying 12 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
With Marshall and Pitt winning on Friday, they will meet in game two on Saturday. Coach Chadwick is excited about the match-up. "We are very thankful to Fifth Third Bank for allowing us the opportunity to bring this tournament here and bring in such quality opponents. We look forward to tomorrow and what will prove to be a great Saturday afternoon of basketball."
Saturday's action will start at 11 a.m. with Harvard facing off against Jackson State. Approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of that game, Pittsburgh and Marshall will fight it out for the Fifth Third Championship.
Both games can be heard live on Marshall's student station, WMUL 88.1-FM, which will also utilize a web broadcast at www.marshall.edu/wmul. Marshall's game will also be broadcast on AM 930 WRVC with Woody Woodrum calling the game while live streaming is available on Herd All Access.