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Marshall Looks to Rebound Versus Southern Illinois

Junior Aja Sorrells

Nov. 26, 2013

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GAME 5: SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (0-4, 0-0 MVC) vs. MARSHALL (1-3, 0-0 C-USA)
Wednesday, Nov. 26 | 12 p.m. ET
Huntington, W.Va. | Cam Henderson Center
Live Stats | Live Video | Live Radio | Twitter

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Looking to bounce back after two close losses at Cam Henderson Center, Marshall women’s basketball (1-3, 0-0 C-USA) will host Southern Illinois (0-4, 0-0 MVC), Wednesday, for a noon contest in Huntington.

Live stats and live video will be available through the women’s basketball schedule page at The official live radio broadcast can be found online or through WMUL 88.1 FM, and live updates will be available through @HerdWBB on Twitter.

The Thundering Herd recorded its third consecutive loss, second at home, with a one-point decision versus Indiana State, Sunday. Even with the 68-67 loss, two Marshall players had career games, with freshman McKenzie Akers (Princeton, W.Va.) shooting 3-of-4 from behind the arc and finishing with 10 points, while fellow freshman Chelsey Romero (Queens, N.Y.) put seven points on the board. Akers, Erica Woods (St. George, Bermuda), Chukwuka Ezeigbo (Trenton, N.J.) and Leah Scott (Detroit) each had double-digit scoring performances, and Woods lead all eight Herd scorers with a season-high 13 points. Woods also contributed a career-high seven assists, and matched her career three-point total by going 3-of-3 from three-point land.

Marshall’s defense ranks highly in many different categories among Conference USA teams, including scoring defense (third, 57.2 ppg), field goal percentage defense (fourth, .346) and three-point percentage defense (fourth, .246). The Herd is also up in the C-USA rankings for blocked shots, averaging 4.0 per game (fifth place).

Junior Chukwuka Ezeigbo (Trenton, N.J.) is averaging 3.75 offensive rebounds a game for the Herd, good for fourth place overall in Conference USA. Her total 8.5 rebounds a game ranks eighth in C-USA. She also contributes 2.25 blocks per game, placing her in a tie for fourth place in the conference.

Freshman McKenzie Akers (Princeton, W.Va.) leads the Herd from three-point range with a .438 percentage, good for 10th place in Conference USA. She has also made the 10th-most three-pointers in the conference, with an average of 1.75 per game. Akers matched her career-high with three treys versus Indiana State, Nov. 24.

Despite a 1-3 record, the Herd’s scoring margin is +0.0, scoring 229 total points so far and allowing opponents the same number. Two of Marshall’s three losses are by two points or less, and both have come in the final 10 seconds of play.

Seven of the Herd’s 10 new players have seen playing time and have combined for 59 percent of Marshall’s total offense thus far. Newcomer Leah Scott (Detroit, Mich.) leads all scorers with 48 over four games, averaging 12.0 points per game.

Notably, Marshall's 2013-14 roster features the most newcomers (10) in Conference USA, including five freshmen, three junior college transfers and two NCAA Division I transfers.

The Herd is in the midst of a six-game home stint, the longest stretch since the 1985-86 season, when Marshall stayed home for seven consecutive games. The seven-game home stretches in both the 1986-86 and 1983-84 seasons are the longest home runs in team history.

From Nov. 18 through Dec. 29, the Herd will play a total of nine home games, with one neutral site matchup versus West Virginia at the Charleston Civic Center (Dec. 14). Marshall will not travel again until the New Year, when it makes a trip to NJIT, Jan. 5.

Since Cam Henderson Center opened in 1981, the Herd holds a home record of 252-171 (.596 winning percentage). Last season, the Herd was 3-2 at home versus non-conference opponents.

After being picked to finish last in the Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Poll, Southern Illinois (0-4, 0-0 MVC) opened the 2013-14 season with four straight losses. The team is led by an all-new staff, including first-year coach Cindy Stein. Sophomore Dyanna Pierre tops the Saluki scoring and rebounding charts, averaging 13.0 points and 10.8 boards a game.

Wednesday’s matchup will be only the third meeting all-time between the Herd and the Salukis, with the series tied at one game apiece. Last year, Marshall traveled to Carbondale, Ill., and walked away with a narrow 70-66 victory. Prior to the 2012 meeting, the teams hadn’t seen each other since a neutral site contest, Dec. 4, 1993, in Charlottesville, Va., when SIU won, 78-62.

At the halfway point in a six-game home stand, Marshall will next host Eastern Kentucky, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. at Cam Henderson Center. For all the latest information about Herd women’s basketball, follow @HerdWBB on Twitter.