Herd to Face NKU Thursday in WBI’s First Round

Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall women’s basketball program made history Monday evening by claiming its second-ever postseason bid as a member of the NCAA when it was invited to play Northern Kentucky Thursday at 7 p.m. at The Bank of Kentucky Center in Highland Heights, Ky. in the first round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

Marshall (16-14) earned an 8 seed in the East Region and will face the top-seeded Norse (19-13). The winner faces the winner of the contest between fourth-seeded Mercer and fifth-seeded Troy.

The 16-team event will take place over two weeks with all games being played on campus sites. Home teams keep all revenue and travel teams get paid each trip.

First round WBI games will begin Wednesday and Thursday, while second round games will be played Saturday and Sunday.

The tournament semifinals will be held either Wednesday or Thursday, March 25 and 26 with the 2015 WBI Championship game played the weekend of March 28-29.

"I think it speaks volumes for how far the program has come in such a short period of time," said Marshall head coach Matt Daniel. "I’m very happy for these kids. Northern Kentucky is a very dangerous team all over the floor. They push the ball in transition and shoot the three really well. It’ll be a tough test especially given our short roster, but we’re excited to play on. I hope we can get a loyal following and people can make the easy trip for Thursday night’s tip."

The Herd features second-team All-Conference USA honorees in Leah Scott (14.7 points per game) and Chukwuka Ezeigbo (10.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game). Ezeigbo, Conference USA’s only active player averaging a double-double, had 15 rebounds in Marshall’s first-round C-USA Tournament loss to Charlotte, a single-game record for the program since entering the league in the 2005-06 season.

The Norse advanced to the Atlantic Sun Conference championship game in their first season eligible after earning the No. 3 seed, posting an 8-6 mark in Atlantic Sun action.

The Herd is winless in five all-time meetings with NKU, all of which took place in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Also, Marshall has held its own in road games this season, posting a 7-7 record.

Marshall’s only previous postseason appearance as an NCAA program came following the 1996-97 season when it ripped off three wins in the Southern Conference Tournament before falling to second-seeded Colorado by a score of 69-49 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Sarah Evans-Moore’s final season as the team’s head coach.

Due to the short turnaround, all Marshall fans are invited to purchase tickets through Northern Kentucky. Ticket prices for Thursday's contest are as follows: Adults-$8, Children (3-17)-$5, Children (2 and under)-Free, Groups (10+)-$5. Tickets will be available for purchase starting at noon on Tuesday at The Bank of Kentucky Center box office or by calling (800) 745-3000.
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