Saturday, September 22, 2012

Marshall Looks to Build in Rivalry Games

HUNTINGTON, W.VA.—Marshall Women’s basketball team attempts to avenge disappointing losses last season to rival opponents Ohio and West Virginia. Marshall travels to Charleston Dec. 4 to battle WVU after a devastating loss in January, 69-57 in the Capital City Classic. Ohio will visit Marshall in the Cam Henderson Center in December.
Marshall’s success will rely on juniors Jasmine Shaw and Erica Woods to defeat these rivals and contend for the postseason. Shaw averaged six points a game last season and Woods led the team with 6.7 points and 6.2 rebounds a game. Marshall has not beaten WVU since 2005.
WVU returns its top performers of last season’s game, something that does not bode well for the Herd’s chances for a win in Charleston. Junior Taylor Palmer led all scorers with 17 points. Juniors Brooke Hampton added 14 points and Christal Caldwell nearly missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Marshall’s top performers from last year’s game graduated in May, leaving some questions about how the team will fare against the veteran WVU team. West Virginia leads the series 34-16.
Marshall clashes with the Ohio Bobcats on Dec. 15 as the Herd returns home for the first time in more than a month. Marshall trails Ohio 24-17 in this series and its last win against the Bobcats was 78-74 during the 2007 season in Athens. Likewise, Marshall has not defeated Ohio at the Henderson center in nearly a decade, an 86-63 victory in 2004.
Last season in Athens, seniors Porsha Harris and Tenishia Benson torched the Herd for 14 and 11 points each, respectively, and both grabbed 13 rebounds in a 68-56 win. This season, the Bobcats will rely on senior guard Shavon Robinson, who added 12 points in last season’s victory.
Coach Matt Daniel returns three juniors from last season bidding to turn this series around. Guards Jasmine Shaw, Erica Woods and forward Suporia Dickens led Marshall’s charge in last season’s game, ultimately falling short.
In his first season at Marshall, Daniel has inherited a team loaded with juniors and seniors. He hopes to benefit from the maturity of the team and return the program to a winning tradition.
Daniel wants to attract a great deal of attention to his program during his inaugural season. Collecting victories over WVU and Ohio would not only attract attention to the program, but provide a springboard for the program to launch into conference play.
These two games will provide a measuring stick for Daniel and his program. A win would have the program moving in the right direction; however, another loss would leave the program stuck in neutral and Daniel searching for a way to drive forward.

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