Tulane downs MU women, 67-57
HUNTINGTON -- Tulane brought a Green Wave of 3-pointers to the Cam Henderson Center on Sunday.
The Green Wave finished with 13 3-pointers, including eight by Danielle Blagg to earn a 67-57 win over the Thundering Herd in front of 517 fans in Conference USA action.
Of Blagg's 26 points, 18 came in an eight-minute stretch in which she turned a four-point contest into a 19-point game on her own.
"She's a good player in a system that she understands," Marshall coach Matt Daniel said. "She got her confidence going and we lost focus a little bit."
Blagg hit six 3-pointers during a 21-6 run that propelled the Green Wave to the win. She hit seven of her eight shots from beyond the arc in the second half.
Blagg's success was not just her own doing, however.
Tulane's players recognized Blagg's shot was on and did everything possible to get the ball to her in hands in a good shooting position.
That type of recognition and basketball I.Q. is part of the reason the Green Wave was selected to finish first in Conference USA this season.
While the loss is not one that Daniel is pleased with, he pointed out that it shows how close the Herd is to being a really good team.
Just as Tulane was picked to finish first, the Herd was picked last among the 12 teams in conference, yet had some outstanding performances of their own in the contest.
The Herd backcourt tandem of Shay Weaver and Norrisha Victrum had arguably their best game of the season offensively, combining for 34 points.
Weaver showed that she's growing into her role as a premier shooter off the bench, hitting five 3-pointers of her own to finish with 18 points to lead the Herd.
Victrum played all 40 minutes and set her career-high in scoring for the second-straight game, finishing with 16 points.
Daniel said after the game that the discrepancy between the Herd and the opponents in several of the team's losses is a couple of possessions here and there.
It all comes down to one factor -- the mental hurdle of learning to win close games.
"About 95 percent (mental)," Daniel said. "It's mentally figuring out how to do it and 'Should I go do it at the risk of it not happening.' We have to eliminate the process of 'This (losing) is what's supposed to happen.'"
Prior to Blagg's hot-shooting second half, Marshall had found its defensive niche late in the first half and took a 26-25 lead into the locker room.
The Herd did not allow a field goal in the final 6:49 of the first half, which sparked a 13-3 run, led by Weaver's six points and assist to Victrum for a 3-pointer.
In addition to the Herd's backcourt success, Chukwuka Ezeigbo ended the contest with seven points and 13 rebounds, including five on the offensive end.
Marshall gets its first taste of life on the road in conference play this week when the team heads to Tulsa for an 8 p.m. contest on Thursday.