March 8, 2011
EL PASO, Texas – Marshall women’s basketball jumpstarts postseason action on Wednesday, as the Thundering Herd will participate in the opening game of the Conference USA Tournament in a battle with UAB. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m., at Memorial Gym in the midst of the UTEP campus.
“We are looking forward to the rubber match with UAB,” head coach Royce Chadwick said. “March is always a different level of intensity. It’s a situation where every play is much more meaningful, every rebound, every steal, every turnover, everything you do is magnified. “The atmosphere is just electric so March games are a lot of fun.”
The Herd enters the tournament with the 10th seed following its 70-57 win on Thursday night to earn the season sweep over Southern Miss and jumping the Golden Eagles for the 10 spot. The Blazers dropped three of its last five games to earn the 7th overall seed, thanks to a 7-9 C-USA record (15-14 overall).
MU (9-20, 5-11 C-USA) split the two game series during the regular season, falling to the Blazers 74-46 on Jan. 30, before snagging a 58-57 victory on Feb. 17.
In the first matchup Amber Jones jumped off the bench to put in a season-high 22 points to help UAB to its second consecutive victory against the Thundering Herd. Tynikki Crook hit double-digits for the 19th time of the season, scoring 13 points. With Marshall on top 14-10, the Blazers exploded on a 23-7 run to take a 33-21 advantage and never looked back.
In the second meeting Crook’s game-winning jumper with 4.3 seconds left on the clock helped Marshall to a 58-57 victory. Crook shot a perfect seven-for-seven from the floor to finish the night with a team-high 17 points, to go along with six rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block. The Herd finished 20 minutes of action shooting its highest percentage of the season from the floor at 72.2 percent (13-of-18).
“Health issues are a thing that has plagued us all year long,” Chadwick continued. “And they still plague us. We have seven that will be out there fighting to earn us another day and that’s what we are hopeful for.”
Marshall and UAB have met only once in postseason play and the Thundering Herd came out victorious, 71-69 in overtime, in the 2007 quarterfinal game.
The winner of Wednesday’s opening game will move on to face No. 2 seeded UCF (19-10, 12-4 C-USA) at 2 p.m., on Thursday at Memorial Gym. The Knights won both meetings against the Herd during the regular season and will enter the postseason on an eight game win streak.