Herd to Open C-USA Action on FOX Sports Network

Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Thundering Herd (7-6, 0-0 C-USA) will begin Conference USA play looking to extend a two-game winning streak when it hosts Tulane (9-4, 0-0 C-USA), Thursday, at 9 p.m. at Cam Henderson Center. The matchup is set to be televised by FOX Sports Network.

Live stats will be available through the women’s basketball schedule page at HerdZone.com. The official live radio broadcast can be found online or through WMUL 88.1 FM, and live updates will be available through @HerdWBB on Twitter.

Marshall held on to win its first road game since Dec. 8, 2012, with a narrow 57-56 victory over NJIT, Sunday, at Fleisher Athletic Center in Newark, N.J. With the win, the Herd completed 2013-14 non-conference play, and won two consecutive games for the second time this season.  Senior Suporia Dickens (Freeport, Ill.) and junior AJ Johnson (Silver Spring, Md.) paced Marshall with 14 points each, and junior Leah Scott (Detroit) followed with 11.

Marshall stands at 4-4 all-time in Conference USA season openers, home or away. In C-USA home openers, the Herd is 7-1, its only loss coming last season versus Tulane, 67-57 (Jan. 13, 2013). The last time Marshall opened the conference season at home was Jan. 5, 2008, with an 81-55 win over East Carolina.

Thursday’s contest is set to be televised by FOX Sports Network, with play-by-play courtesy of Ron Thulin and commentary by analyst Debbie Antonelli. Marshall’s last televised home game was Jan. 9, 2011, when the Herd topped UTEP, 62-58. All-time, Marshall is 6-10 in televised C-USA games, with five wins coming at Cam Henderson Center. When playing on TV in Huntington, Marshall is 5-2 against conference opponents.

Fans are encouraged to show up in their best sleepwear to Thursday’s 9 p.m. tipoff, and will receive $1 admission for doing so. The best pajamas will win a special grand prize from Mattress Warehouse. The first 300 fans through the door get free popcorn, and the first 100 fans get free Papa John’s pizza.

Committing only 12.6 turnovers per game, Marshall is 17th out of 343 teams ranked in NCAA Division I women’s basketball, and tops Conference USA. The Herd had only eight slips versus Davis & Elkins, the fewest since turning it over eight times versus Houston, Feb. 26, 2009.

For the second time this season and the second time in coach Matt Daniel’s two seasons, Marshall won back-to-back games, defeating Davis & Elkins, 86-72 (Dec. 31), and NJIT 57-56 (Jan. 5). The Herd won consecutive games earlier this season when it defeated Wofford, 71-56 (Dec. 19), and Delaware State, 62-47 (Dec. 21). Prior to this season, the Herd’s last winning streak came in February 2012, when Marshall defeated Memphis, 65-54 (Feb. 16), and UAB, 40-37 (Feb. 19).

Sophomore guard Norrisha Victrum (Columbia, S.C.) has made quite an impact for the Herd of late. She leads Conference USA with an assist/turnover ratio of 2.28, good for 47th out of 250 NCAA Division I players ranked. Notably, her career-high 24 points against Wofford (Dec. 19) are the most scored by a player in coach Matt Daniel’s two seasons and are the most by a Herd player since Tynikki Crook scored 25 in a 71-67 home win over Cleveland State, Dec. 18, 2010. Her eight assists and 12-made free throws versus Wofford are also single-game highs under Daniel.

Chelsey Romero (Hampton, Va.) earned her first Conference USA Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Week honor for the week Monday, Dec. 23. This is the first conference weekly award earned in coach Matt Daniel’s two seasons. Romero is the second Herd player ever to earn the honor, with the last being Shay Weaver who earned the award twice in 2012 (Feb. 20, March 2).

The 6-1 forward helped lead Marshall to back-to-back victories for the first time under Daniel, averaging 11.5 rebounds per game over two games. Against Wofford (Dec. 19), she scored 10 points, had nine rebounds and shot .417 from the field. She tied her career high with 14 boards versus Delaware State (Dec. 21) and matched her best performance of three blocks in both games.

Coach Matt Daniel has started six different combinations over 13 games, and five of the Herd’s seven wins have come with different starting lineups. No Herd player has started all 13 games, however, junior Leah Scott (Detroit) has started all but one game.

Since Cam Henderson Center opened in 1981, the Herd holds a home record of 258-154 (.626 winning percentage) in 33 seasons. In coach Matt Daniel’s two seasons, the Herd is 12-11 at ‘the Cam.’ Last season, Marshall was 3-5 at home versus conference opponents.

Tulane (9-4, 0-0 C-USA) is coming off a 63-35 loss to LSU (Jan. 5), and is the winner of five of its last six games. Away from New Orleans, La., the team is 1-2 on the road. Three of Tulane’s four losses have come against SEC members (Ole Miss, Auburn, LSU), with one loss to ACC affiliate NC State (Nov. 24). The Green Wave defeated a common opponent with the Herd, Indiana State, 51-45, in the Double Tree Classic (Dec. 29).

As a team, the Green Wave is averaging 68.0 points and 42.3 rebounds per game while allowing opponents to score 59.9 points and pull down 36.8 rebounds per contest. Danielle Blagg leads the team in scoring with 13.9 points per game while Tiffany Dale paces the squad in rebounds with 8.1 boards per outing.

Thursday’s game will be the 10th meeting between Marshall and Tulane, with the Green Wave leading the series, 8-1, and winning the last five matchups. The Herd’s lone victory over Tulane came March 6, 2008, when Marshall defeated the Green Wave, 65-58, in the first round of the C-USA Championship in Orlando, Fla.

Last season, the Herd fell to Tulane in Huntington, 67-57 (Jan. 13, 2013). Blagg sunk a career-high eight threes in the game against Marshall and ended with a personal best 26 points.

Marshall will stay in Huntington to host UAB, Saturday, at 1 p.m. at Cam Henderson Center. For all the latest information about Herd women’s basketball, follow @HerdWBB on Twitter.

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