Herd Outlasts Radford in Season-Opener, 65-63
In front of a boisterous 2,714, which consisted mainly of area school children for Marshall’s annual “Field Trip Day”, the Thundering Herd survived an end-of-game rally from the Highlanders to pick up the win and open up the Matt Daniel era 1-0.
“We’ll take them any way that we can get them,” coach Daniel in response to his first win with the Herd. “I am ecstatic to be a part of a program that’s now no longer .500 forever. We are now 1-0.”
The Herd shot 46.0 percent from the field compared to Radford’s 39.3 percent. Marshall was 6-for-15 from beyond the arc while Radford struggled with a 5-for-17 effort.
“Radford is very experienced, but I could tell that our team needed to win that game,” said Daniel. “We didn’t need to come up short on the scoreboard and we were fortunate enough to be able to do so.”
Marshall would lead the whole first half, thanks in part to a 15-5 run to open the game. The Herd continued to control the game until the 9:48 mark when the Highlanders embarked on a 10-3 run.
Radford held the Herd without a point for over four minutes while they trimmed the lead to one, 22-21. Weaver’s three point basket, one of four for her on the day, stopped the opposition’s run at 5:35.
The Herd was able to make good on its free throws in the first half’s final 2:06 as they collected five points from line and closed out the half with an 8-0 run. Marshall entered the locker room 39-27 and had its largest lead of the game at 12.
Suporia Dickens would open the second half with two of her career-high 11 points, but the Highlanders limited Marshall to six points while they poured in 16 points in the first 12:10 of play in the half to take their first lead of 46-45 on two free throws from Breshara Gordon.
Radford was only able to extend their lead to three as Marshall’s defense and rebounding kept the score close.
Weaver gave the lead back to the Herd with 9:44 left as she grabbed an offensive rebound and used an and-one situation to secure three of her 11 second half points.
Radford would be back on top 30 seconds later as Sarah Tabb’s layup put her team up by one, 51-50.
Another lead change by the Herd once again came from Weaver, whose three-pointer put her squad up 53-51. Marshall’s lead would stand until a furious end of game rally by the visitors tied the game.
“Shay really competed today,” Daniel said about his sophomore guard. “She didn’t get lost in the shuffle. She stuck her nose in there and was trying to win the game.”
The Highlanders began a 7-1 run with 2:28 remaining and knotted the game at 63 with 1:25 left as they scored two of their 17 second half points off turnovers. Two free throws from Orlandria Williams put the home team back on top.
A flurry of turnovers in the closing minutes of the game kept things tense. Radford commited three turnovers in the final 1:12 and was unable to get off a shot in the closing seconds to give the Herd the 65-63 win.
Weaver’s 19 helped Marshall outscore the Highlander bench, 34-37. The Herd out-rebounded Radford, 37-34 with Veronica Ruiz leading the way with eight. Dickens had five on the offensive glass.
Ayana Avery had 18 points off the bench to lead the Highlanders. Da’Na Erwinspencer also had double-digit points as she tossed in 14. Tabb had a game high nine rebounds.
Freshman Norrisha Victrum started for Daniel’s squad and led her team with four assists while scoring five points.
Marshall’s will make its first road trip of the year on Monday as it travels to Indiana State for a 7:05 p.m. tip.