Marshall women win opener

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 9:50 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall women’s basketball team poured on the points in a 108-45 victory over the Bluefield State Big Blue in the season opener, Tuesday night in the Cam Henderson Center. The Herd featured six players in double-figures.

Marshall begins the season 1-0.

“Obviously, we came out good in the first quarter,” said Marshall head coach Tony Kemper. “Our defense waned a little in the second quarter. It was a great third quarter and welcome home Aaliyah Dunham. I’m so happy that she’s here and I think you saw the reason why. She’s a really good player and I believe she’s happy to be home too.”

It was the first time that Marshall scored at least 20 points in all four quarters since an 87-42 win over FIU on March 7, 2019. It was the first time that the Herd hit the century mark since a 111-38 decision over Kentucky Christian on Dec. 18, 2017. Tuesday was also the first time that Marshall had six players in double-digits since Dec. 20, 2016, a 136-62 victory over Maine Fort Kent.

Marshall’s defense forced 30 turnovers against Big Blue, the first time that the Herd forced 30 or more since Nov. 5, 2019 in an 89-40 win over Kentucky Christian.

In another first, Tuesday’s victory was the first time a Conference USA team put up 100 points since Feb. 29, 2020 as Middle Tennessee defeated WKU 108-103 in double overtime. It was also the most points in a non-overtime contest since North Texas won 114-54 over A&M Texarkana on Dec. 29, 2019.

Marshall shot 56.8 percent from the floor and hit 9-of-17 from downtown (52.9-percent). The Herd scored 58 of its points in the paint and scored 42 off turnovers. Marshall held the Big Blue to just 46 total shots while the Herd put up 74 shots, hitting 42. Bluefield State shot 30.4 percent for the game, hitting eight 3-pointers. Marshall outrebounded the Big Blue 44-27.

Dunham and freshman CC Mays led the way in scoring with 17 points each. Dunham shot 6-of-9 from the floor and hit three 3-pointers. The Xavier transfer added seven assists and six steals. Mays scored the majority of her points inside, firing down the lane and getting to the basket for a 7-of-9 effort. She added six rebounds with four coming on the offensive glass.

Graduate student Kennedi Colclough was next with 15 points as she was 6-of-9 from the floor, again getting to the basket and finishing. Sophomore Savannah Wheeler put up 14 points with four rebounds and three steals. Senior Brianah Ferby, a transfer from Austin Peay, displayed her speed and shooting ability with 13 points, hitting 4-of-7 from the field and 2-of-4 from three. Sophomore Alexis Johnson was the sixth Herd player in double-figures with 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Johnson also grabbed six boards.

Christiana McLean and Aarionna Redman also had their Herd debuts as both players have dealt with past injuries and were able to get on the floor. Both players had six points. McLean was 3-of-5 from the floor to go along with two rebounds, two assists and one steal. Redman was 2-of-3 from 3-point range, grabbed three boards and had three steals playing stout defense.

Junior Lorelei Roper and freshman Samantha LaFon had four points each. Freshman Sarah Liberatore had two points and one steal. Freshman Ksenija Mitric did not score but had one rebound and one assist. Junior Kia Sivils had two boards, two assists and one steal. Freshman Sofia Llanos played one minute in her collegiate debut.

The Herd dominated the first quarter 23-8. Marshall shot 45.5 percent from the floor while the Big Blue hit on just 3-of-12 (25-percent). The Herd used its speed to run up the points in the beginning with its first six points coming on layups, including a steal from Roper who went coast-to-coast for the bucket. Bluefield State called timeout after Roper’s score, and then came out and hit a three to cut the deficit in half, 6-3. The Herd turned on the jets again with a 13-0 run to take a 19-3 lead with 1:19 to go in the period. Marshall scored 18 of its 23 points on layups. Johnson led the way in the first with six points. Dunham had three assists.

Marshall kept right on rolling offensively in the second quarter with 26 more points. However, Bluefield State was able to find some offensive rhythm, scoring 19 points, including 4-of-9 from three. Mays had a great second quarter with nine points, going 3-of-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line. Dunham and Colclough had five points each in the second.

The teams went in at the break with Marshall leading by 22, 49-27.

The Herd’s defense matched the offensive intensity in the third quarter as Marshall outscored Bluefield State 36-4. It was the first time the Herd scored 30 in a period since tallying 31 in the third quarter of an 86-58 win over FIU on Jan. 19, 2019. Bluefield State did not score a point in the period until the Herd had put up 29 unanswered, and led 78-27. The Big Blue finally scored a basket with 2:18 remaining in the period.

Dunham went off with the hot hand scoring 12 of her 17 in the third. She was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field, 2-of-2 from three and 2-of-2 from the line. She also had four steals and three assists in the third. As a team, Marshall shot 65 percent (13-of-20) from the floor and 8-of-10 from the line. Wheeler had nine points in the third on 3-of-4 shooting and 3-of-3 from the line.

Marshall’s offense slowed, but only slightly, in the fourth quarter with 23 points. Redman and McLean scored all of their points in the fourth to lead the way. The Herd still shot 56.3 percent from the floor (9-of-16) in the fourth and 3-of-5 from three.

Marshall hits the road for its next contest on Sunday as the team travels to Radford. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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