Herd Women Work to Rebuild

Updated 1 year ago by Ed McCarnes

An athletic program can be compared to one round trip on a ferris wheel. Sometimes the program is at its peak of success. Sometimes the program is in an ascent mode. Sometimes the program is in decline. And sometimes the program is at a bottom seeking a partial or complete reload.

Such is the status with the Marshall women’s basketball program. The once competitive program has, for multiple reasons, fallen on bad times.

The last winning season was in 2015-16 when a record of 21-12 was compiled. Behind late season injuries the 2016-17 record fell to 13-17 and 5-13 in C-USA. In 2017-18 the decline continued with bottom lines of 9-20 overall and 3-13 in conference play.

Causes are multiple and include the mentioned injuries, player departures from the program, disciplinary dismissals and player performance beneath the radar of expectation and projection.

Less clear and more abstract are hot button questions about the program’s core recruiting philosophy, recruit selections made and their appropriateness for competitive play in C-USA.

Last season’s 9-20 record and C-USA 3-13 bottom lines underscore the comprehensive scope and urgency of the problem.

Final C-USA stats provide a database of performance for the entire season. Analysis of random selections from this database led to observations regarding individual and team shortfalls. These shortfalls clearly delineate a perimeter of needs.

Before addressing these needs, consider some positive results.

The Lady Herd scored more 3-point goals (124-122), engineered more steals (118-108) and committed less turnovers (226-232). The composite of opponents prevailed in an avalanche of dominance in all other categories. Examples of stats regarding shooting and floor game shortfalls


Shooting stats: Field goals, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, free throws and free throw percentage.

Floor stats: Total rebounds, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, assists and blocked shots.

On offense the Herd struggled to complete close-in shots. In a 12 game database the misfire total was 110. In fairness, some efforts were contested. But many were not. Marshall converted field goal attempts at a .379 pace.

Difficulties with the passing game were noted periodically during the season. Some were with mechanics, some were decision based and others were with ball handling protection. The problem was the negative impact on the team’s narrow margin of error for success.

The major defensive problem was difficulty defending the 3-point shot. One part of the problem was not closing on shooters. The other was a defense compacted around the basket trying to step out to the arc to challenge the 3-point attempt.

Unstopped entry passes to the low post, the drive and dish, no block out and second chance points were other problems that were periodically observed.

In addition to reduction of the factors noted, the program continues to need taller players. Marshall has two players 6-0 or taller returning. Other conference squads have as many as seven.

Good news #1 is that head coach Tony Kemper and his staff already have a working remedial plan in place. Kemper sketched details after his team’s final season game.

“All (the players) have to get better. We’ve got to have more physicality – get more physical. Rebounding needs to get better. Defense needs to get better. We need to work on conditioning. We need to grow more people with maturity.”

During the off season the Lady Herd will work on these needs. Program fans hope that good news #2 will be major improvements observed in the 2018-19 season.

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