Thrust Primes Herd Surge

Updated 4 years ago

by Ed McCarnes

Hope reigned as Marshall women's basketball prepared for its season. Surely the struggle-for-success program would show some glimmer of progress.

The hope quickly transformed into reality. Perhaps that reality was even greater than both coaching staff and the ultra-loyal fan base could envision.

Most of the improvement came against non-conference opponents. Selected conference opponents also experienced the thunder. And perhaps the even better news is the accolades heaped on the program's next incoming recruiting class.

Focus on the three interconnected segments separately provides an enhanced clarity on the team's current status and possible future.

Against non-conference teams Marshall finished 9-5. The success included pace-setting performance in total field goals, total 3's, and total free throws.

The improved floor game was also impressive. Flagship totals included more steals, blocks and less turnovers. Opponents captured more rebounds and held a narrow edge in assists.

Against conference foes MU won six battles with better total field goal percentage, free throws made, free throw percentage, blocked shots, steals

and less turnovers.

Opponents converted more total field goals and 3's, and shot a higher 3-point percentage. Floor game numbers in rebounds and assists favored the conference foes’ composite.

Marshall opened the season at 8-3 against out-of-league opponents, 6–4 in C-USA, and 14-7 overall. Pencil in lack of depth (10 players) and injury to the primary point guard as core causes for the 3-8 closing line.

In a chance on-campus encounter Head Coach Matt Daniel summarized the season in four words: "I'm happy and tired."

Daniel should be happy. The future appears bright.

Rebuilding of a front line dented by completion of eligibility is a must. But the core of his back court remains essentially intact.

The pre-season glimmer had increased its intensity. An enlarging fan base saw sheet lightning flashes of glare. But, if a national talent rating service is correct, August's incoming talent base will provide even better news.

The service ranked Marshall 52 nationally and second only to Princeton among schools considered to be mid-major or outside the Big 5 Power Conferences.

For Daniel the recognition must be saturated with sugar sweetness.

From day one he has been adamant in his belief that college competitive talent resides locally.

The belief has been a foundation keystone in both his program building

strategy and recruiting focus. Recognition increases credibility to both. The upcoming season becomes a crucial crossroad.

Projection, strategy and focus will crash head-on with opponent resistance. Program fans hope the former survives the latter and reality again replaces hope.

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