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Victrum brings Herd victory

Dec. 21, 2012 @ 12:17 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall point guard Norrisha Victrum is quickly losing her status as a freshman basketball player for the Thundering Herd women's team.

Victrum scored a career-high 13 points while leading the Marshall offense into its sets Thursday afternoon in a 52-46 win over Furman in front of 316 spectators in Cam Henderson Center.

"This is the best game I've had so far," Victrum said. "I want to play like this all the time. I was more focused today."

There has been an acclimation process for Victrum in terms of the speed and understanding angles for passing at the collegiate level. As with most freshmen who are asked to run the point guard position, Victrum suffered through the lumps of committing turnovers in bunches in the early part of the season.

On Thursday, though, she took command of the contest late with her floor presence and got Marshall's offense into the right sets.

Even though the Herd (6-5) struggled to finish off several easy looks at the basket, Victrum had the Herd where it needed to be -- a welcome sight for head coach Matt Daniel.

"Part of the deal is 'Ri-Ri' taking care of the ball," Daniel said. "She only had two turnovers today. That makes it easier to get a Reign-Drop and have more assists than turnovers."

In Daniel's coaching philosophy -- the "Home of Higher Hoops" -- the pre-game goals are set on what is known as the "Forecast Board."

Each time the team or an individual player achieves a goal, they get a Reign Drop.

For Victrum, it was finishing with more assists than turnovers, which she did. For Daniel, it's a key sign in the growth of his young player.

"The looks over to me are becoming less, and that's part of the growth process," Daniel said.

It wasn't exactly the easiest win for the Herd, either.

After trailing by seven early, Furman came out with lots of intensity and pounded the lane to knot the game on a pair of occasions.

The Purple Paladins knotted the game at 37 before Shay Weaver hit a 3-pointer to give the Herd back the lead.

Following the basket, Marshall got a stop and Victrum controlled the offense. With the shot clock winding down, she drove to the left side of the lane and nailed a runner while being fouled.

The 3-point play pushed the lead to six and Furman would get no closer than two possessions as Victrum hit clutch free throws down the stretch. She was 7-of-7 from the line in the game.

"I'm pleased that our kids were able to close out and continue to try and protect home court," Daniel said.

While the rookie Victrum was instrumental, so too was the Herd's mother figure -- redshirt junior Erica Woods.

Woods, who has literally played every position for the Herd, contributed in every area in the victory. She finished with eight points, seven rebounds and four steals -- two of which came late in the contest.

Furman had tied the contest at 33 following an 8-0 run when Woods hit a scoop shot to send the Herd to the under-8 media timeout with the lead. She then hit Veronica Ruiz for a layup to calm the Herd after a four-minute pointless drought.

"I always just try to stay as poised as possible," Woods said. "I feel like composure is a big thing on any basketball team, so I try to be that person."

Scoring droughts were not uncommon in the game as the Purple Paladins went a 9:07 stretch of the first half without a single point.

The result was a 16-0 Marshall run that produced a 20-8 lead with under eight minutes left in the first half.

Holli Wilkins, the daughter of former NBA player Gerald Wilkins and niece of former NBA star Dominique Wilkins, finished with 12 points to lead Furman (3-7), who lost its sixth straight. Brittany Hodges also had nine points and 10 rebounds.

Marshall returns to action at 2 p.m. on Saturday when Tennessee Tech visits the Cam Henderson Center.

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