Dec. 6, 2016
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Marshall women’s basketball team is on the road for the second consecutive game to take on the UNC Tar Heels at the Carmichael Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 5:30 p.m.
HAVE YOU HERD?
Marshall is 5-2 this season after suffering an 82-80 loss at Penn State. An exciting game from start to finish, the Herd played well hitting 49.1 percent of its shots and connected on nine three-pointers. Marshall was led by redshirt junior Taylor Porter, who scored a career-high 24 points. Porter drained four three-pointers during the game and was a perfect 8-for-8 at the line. Penn State hit the shots it needed at the end to take the lead and keep it for the win. But, the Herd refused to go away quietly as Penn State led by five with about three seconds left, redshirt junior McKenzie Akers took the inbounds pass and fired a long three that hit just as the buzzer sounded. It was her third three of the game and the 96th of her career. She is one away from tying Stephanie Wine (1992-96) for ninth all-time.
TAYLOR PORTER’S GOES OFF AT PENN STATE
Redshirt junior guard Taylor Porter had a career-day at Penn State (Dec. 3). Porter set career-highs with 24 points, six field goals made, tied career-highs with four 3-point field goals made, eight free throws made and recorded her first career block at Marshall (she had seven in her one season at Murray State). The guard added six rebounds including five on the defensive side. Porter made several key shots to halt Penn State runs and helped keep Marshall with the lead or staying close throughout the contest. The Louis, Ky., native finished shooting 6-of-12 from the floor, 4-of-9 (44.4%) from beyond the arc and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the line. Porter has not missed a foul shot in the past two games going a combined 12-for-12.
WORKING THE GLASS
Sophomore forward Khadaijia Brooks has been working the interior for Marshall in the early part of 2016-17. Brooks leads the Herd with 48 rebounds, 6.9 per game. She has recorded at least five boards in each contest and grabbed a career-high 11 against Prairie View A&M while playing a team and career-best 38 minutes. Against Sam Houston State, Brooks was tasked with guarding the Bearkats best rebounder in Jasmine McCants who had been averaging over seven rebounds per game. McCants finished the contest with three and the Herd became the first team this season to outrebound Sam Houston State. The Bearkats had been averaging over nine boards more per contest than its opponents.
The Herd is averaging 5.6 blocks per game this season. Marshall recorded 10 blocks in the season debut at Illinois, added eight more against Florida A&M and then six versus Coastal Carolina. The Illinois contest was the first time that the Herd had double-digit blocks in a game since March 5, 2014 against UTSA in an 81-76 overtime win when Marshall registered 11 swats. Against the Fighting Illini, redshirt-senior Talequia Hamilton led Marshall with a career-high five rejections. Freshman Ashley Saintigene had three blocks in her Herd debut (all coming in the second quarter). Sophomore Shayna Gore and freshman Asheika Alexander chipped in with one block each. Against the Rattlers in the home-opener, sophomore Khadaijia Brooks led with three while Hamilton and Saintigene added two each and senior Kiana Evans rounded out the night with one. Saintigene contributed five of the Herd’s six blocks against Coastal Carolina. The freshman leads the team with 17 and has recorded at least one block in each game and has mulitple blocks in every game but two.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA
UNC is 7-1 this season. The Tar Heels have wins over Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Bucknell, Charleston Southern, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Elon. The lone loss was to South Florida, 83-55, at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas. The most recent contest was the five-point win (78-73) over Elon at home. The Phoenix outrebounded the Tar Heels 42-28, but UNC shot 51.7 percent from the floor and hit five more three-pointers and forced 20 turnovers. The game was tied, 21-21, at the end of the first and UNC took a four-point lead into the half. Elon brought the game back within one at the end of the third, but UNC hit three free throws in the final minute to help retain the lead and get the win.
Four players are averaging double-figures for Sylvia Hatchell’s crew with Stephanie Watts (21.4), Paris Kea (18.0), Jamie Cherry (11.3) and Destinee Walker (10.0). Watts, a sophomore guard was the 2016 ACC Freshman of the Year after averaging 14.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. This season, Watts also leads the Tar Heels with 9.1 rebounds per game, 12 blocks and is second with 16 steals. Kea leads UNC with 21 steals and Cherry leads the team with 41 assists. After playing Marshall, UNC gets an 11-day break and then travels to Myrtle Beach to take on LSU and Jacksonville at the Crescom Bank Holiday Invitational on Dec. 18 and 20. The Tar Heels will round out non-conference action with home games against Coppin State (Dec. 28) and South Carolina State (Dec. 30).
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Marshall returns to the Cam for three games before the holiday break. The Herd will take on Bluefield College Sunday Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. Following will then be a date with Longwood (Dec. 19) and Maine Fort Kent (Dec. 20).