Herd Expands Thunder

Updated 9 weeks ago by Ed McCarnes

Capstone the Marshall women’s recently completed basketball season and the words spectrum and margins come to mind.

Delve further and terms like records and statistics pop into view. Slice toward the causal core and two negatives emerge. Cut into the core and causes become visible.

First the records.

A 17-15 bottom line provides a preview of coming attractions revealed by further explorations. Especially attractive is a 10-6 final conference record. That, dissected, reforms as a home-away gemini of 5-3.

Stanza the season by results and three segments emerge.

A 5-7 combination of spurts and setbacks preceded a 9-2 mid-season sizzle. Then Murphy’s Law, if anything can go wrong it will, came calling. A 3-6 mark concluded the campaign.

The 3-6 finish can be back tracked to a two cause base. Quality opponents account, in part, for the numbers. The other, as will be described, comes labeled as a coach’s worst nightmare.

Behind overall numbers lie statistics that portend positive buds of program growth. Readers should note that, while the spectrum of categories is broad, the range of differences inside most categories tends to be narrow.

An improved shooting game showed Marshall held advantage in total FG (777-763), FG percentage (.391-.390), 3-point goals (269-229), 3-point percentage (.324-.323), and free throw percentage (.697-.643). Opponents converted more free throws (365-331).

Floor game advantages included more steals (251-219) and fewer turnovers (460-500). The opponent composite prevailed in assists (442-414) and blocked shots (119-103).

Credit Shayna Gore and Taylor Porter for the improvement. These Seniors set the tangible

standing with their shooting and floor game skills. Additional intangible leadership came via their focus and commitment.

Kristen Mayo, Taylor Pearson, Princess Clemons and Kia Sivils bought into the standards set. Aerial Adkins, Tana Driver, Jovana Vucetic and Briana Toney added periodic contributions.

Screened behind these numbers is additional insight in a matrix of shooting percent and win-loss results.

In 17 wins the Herd shot better than 40% twelve times. In 15 losses MU shot less than 40% twelve times. This benchmark of 40% is frequently used as a criterion for shooting success.

Rebounding numbers reveal an ultimate bleak. Marshall won the battle of the boards only 9 times in 32 games. The 9-23 final line included 4-9 in pre-conference play, 5-11 vs C-USA teams and 0-3 in post season play.

The numbers require analysis.

At season’s start Khadaijia Brooks, Loerlei Roper and Ashley Saintigene projected as front court (forward-center) contributors. Brooks and Roper were coming off rehab. Saintigene would join them during the season.

But after nine games, via injuries, the projections crumbled. Roper and Saintigene returned to injured reserve. A carry over injury from 2017-18 forced Logan Fraley into early retirement. Only Brooks remained active through the 32-game grind.

Injuries to front line players set off a cause-effect chain series. On offense the inside game was extinguished. The Herd was forced to rely heavily on the if of 3-point shots. On defense MU was forced to compact its defense in order to get rebounds. Taller opponents converted put backs or used kick out passes to set up unchallenged 3-point attempts.

But, overall, the positives outnumbered the negatives. A winning attitude has returned and how to achieve it established. The future, as rock icon Elvis Presley once said, looks bright ahead.

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