First Place On Line When Tulsa Visits Marshall Women in Key C-USA Clash|
Jan. 26, 2006
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall, a half-game ahead of three teams in the Conference USA women's basketball standings, will face off with one of those second place squads when it plays host to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Friday. Tip-off from the Cam Henderson Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.
The Thundering Herd (10-7, 5-1 C-USA) dropped its last two games after claiming a season-high five straight contests. Marshall stepped out of conference play for the final time on Wednesday with the annual Toyota Capital Classic versus intrastate rival West Virginia. The Mountaineers bounced back from last season's setback to the Herd with a 72-58 victory in Charleston, W.Va.
The Herd post players may see their biggest challenge of the conference season when Tulsa (14-4, 5-2 C-USA) comes to town. Not only is the Golden Hurricane the top rebounding team in the league, but it features the nation's top rebounder in forward Jillian Robbins. The 6-foot-1 junior leads the NCAA in rebounds per game (15.1) and C-USA in points per game (18.9). She ranks high in C-USA in field goal percentage (56.1, 3rd), steals (2.6, 3rd) and blocks (2.7, 2nd). Robbins posted 15 double-doubles thus far in the season and is coming off a 30-point, 16-rebound performance in the Golden Hurricane's 28-point victory over Houston on Sunday.
Tulsa, picked just behind Marshall in fifth place in the preseason C-USA poll, is riding a three-game win streak. TU's 68.8 points per game rank second in the conference and its scoring defense (58.8 allowed/game) is No. 1.
Marshall will counter Robbins and the Golden Hurricane with a pair of stout rebounders of its own in juniors Modupe Ishola and Crystal Champion. Ishola grabs 7.6 rebounds per game with 6.5 boards from Champion. Sikeetha Shepard-Hall averages a team-best 15.1 points per game.
Tulsa head coach Charlene Thomas-Swinson is in the midst of her first season on the Tulsa bench after assistant coaching stints at Florida and with the WNBA's Orlando Miracle. The former Auburn standout had three years of head coaching experience prior to Tulsa at St. John's. She is assisted by Amy Williams, LaTricia Gunnells and Sam Purcell.
Tulsa faced three common opponents as Marshall thus far in the season and is 2-1 versus those teams (UAB, Memphis, Rice) while Marshall is 3-0. The Golden Hurricane's lone loss in that group came against UAB, at home, a foe that Marshall defeated by 10 points on the road.
Tulsa and Marshall are identical in field goal percentage at 42.3 percent. UT owns the nation's ninth-best rebound margin (+9.4) and is 16th in the NCAA in blocks per game (5.3). The Golden Hurricane's employ three players who average double-figures in points, leading to 68.8 points per game for a +10.1 scoring margin.
Marshall and Tulsa, a pair of C-USA newcomers, will meet for the first time on Friday.
The Marshall-Tulsa game 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.