Nov. 30, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. - Marshall women's basketball opened up the first game of the EKU Comfort Suites Tournament with a 67-63 loss to Jackson State on Friday afternoon in the McBrayer Arena.
The Thundering Herd dropped to 3-3 for the season, while Jackson State improved to 2-4.
Sophomore Shay Weaver led the Herd with 17 points after going 5-for-11 from behind the arch, tying a career-high in three-pointers made.
Orlandria Williams and Veronica Ruiz each followed with nine points, while Ruiz led Marshall on the boards with six rebounds.
Forward Chukwuka Ezeigbo earned two blocks and two steals on defense, while Suporia Dickens had a career-high five steals.
Jackson State was led by Tiffany Kellum, who recorded a game-high 25 points after going 11-for-14 from the field. She earned a double-double after totaling 10 rebounds and also added four assists, two steals and two blocks.
"I talked in the locker room about toughness," said head coach Matt Daniel. "Not just physical, it's mental and emotional toughness. The ability to be able to handle pressure against an opponent. She (Kellum) was tougher than anyone we had tonight."
Marshall and Jackson State were nearly even on the boards with Marshall recording 32 rebounds, compared to Jackson State's 35.
"We got beat on the boards. We're not a type of team that will slice and dice you right now because we don't have great execution," commented Daniel. "So we better win off of toughness plays and they were tougher than us at every position. Mentally, emotionally, physically - we've got to get that changed."
The Herd did well shooting, going 24-of-53 as a unit for a 45.3 percent field goal average. Marshall also went 10-of-24 behind the arch, marking the first time the Herd has had ten or more three-pointers in a game since earning 10 against Morehead State in 2007.
"When we take the shots we're supposed to, they go down - almost unbelievably," Daniel said. "We don't have a problem scoring it, we have a problem executing it. Huge difference."
Weaver went 3-of-5 in three-pointers in the first nine minutes of play to help the Herd take a 21-12 lead to open up the game against the Tigers.
Foul trouble forced Weaver to go to the bench early, allowing EKU to score seven unanswered points and trim the Marshall lead to 21-19 with just under nine minutes left in the period.
Marshall's defense was unable to find an answer for Tiffany Kellum, who had 17 first half points which allowed the Tigers to take its first lead at 29-27 with 4:10 left in the half.
Thirteen first half turnovers helped Jackson State sustain the lead going into the locker rooms at the half. The Tigers totaled eight steals in the first 20 minutes and scored 11 points off Herd turnovers.
Marshall went 6-for-13 from behind the arc in the opening half, but had only one visit to the foul line.
Three steals by Dickens in the first three minutes of the second half resulted in two of Weaver's five three-pointers, trimming the Jackson State lead to 43-40.
The Tigers controlled a lead for the duration of the second half and took its largest margin at 54-44 with just under ten minutes left in the game.
Shooting 50.0 percent from the field in the second half helped the Herd pull within one possession on a few different occasions. The Herd had one final opportunity to top Jackson St. in the final seconds of the game after Williams tipped in a rebound to make the score 65-60 with 15 seconds left.
A hard full-court press forced Jackson State to step out of bounds and Williams nailed a three-pointer on the ensuing possession to bring the score to 65-63 with 13 seconds left.
Marshall then fouled Kellum, sending her to the line and the Jackson State forward added two made free throws to her final 25 points to seal the win for the Tigers.
The Herd will play Presbyterian College at 2:30 p.m. ET tomorrow to conlcude the tournament.