Dickens, MU end losing skid
HUNTINGTON -- All day long, one word could be heard coming from the voice of Marshall women's basketball coach Matt Daniel.
That word? Bang.
Bang is what Daniel yells when he wants his team to shoot the basketball.
Marshall forward Suporia Dickens was listening.
Dickens overcame a tough shooting night from the floor by driving for the game-winning runner with five seconds left to snap the Herd's eight-game losing streak in a 55-54 win over Memphis in front of 619 fans at Cam Henderson Center on Sunday.
"I was screaming 'Just bang it' -- that's kind of what we say," Daniel said.
Dickens finished with seven points on just 3-of-18 shooting. However, she kept attacking the basket, shooting her shots and crashing the boards.
In addition to the game-winning basket, she finished with 10 rebounds -- six on the offensive end.
The win was the first Conference USA victory for Marshall (7-13, 1-6 C-USA) and first conference win for Daniel as the Herd's head coach.
As had been the case during the losing streak, adversity struck the Herd in the game's waning moments and put a chance at a win in jeopardy.
With 2:21 left, Marshall led 53-49, but Memphis' Nicole Dickson -- the leading scorer in C-USA -- hit a 3-pointer in transition while being fouled. She missed the free throw, but Memphis ended up with the rebound and Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir scored on a layup to give the Tigers a 54-53 lead.
The lead was their first in 32 minutes of game action, but the Herd found a way to overcome the momentum swing and its own personal demons of the losing streak to get the win.
"That's what we're fighting against because we're in every single game...," Daniel said. "That's what you're fighting against -- coach, we just laid it on the line again and we're coming up short - so it was hugely important to get this win. But we're playing hard, man."
After Memphis scored the game's first four points, the Herd got in rhythm from the perimeter.
Shay Weaver opened the Marshall's scoring with a pair of 3-pointers to knot the game at 6 with the final one jumpstarting a 15-2 run to give the Herd the lead it would not relinquish until the brief stretch late in the game.
During that run, four different Marshall players hit 3-pointers, including Justin Boerger, who came in after a media timeout and knocked down her first look of the game off the bench.
The basket was the first of the season for Boerger, a seldom-used forward averaging just under 2.3 minutes per game.
However, Daniel used the shot and Boerger's presence as a lesson to his team following the game.
"We did an evaluation on the bus and talked about everything -- who's the best person, who's the laziest -- and they had to rank everybody and we did a point system," Daniel said. "Justin Boerger -- an unsung hero -- brings as much value as most of our team. She was in the top three points earned."
Boerger's 3-pointer was one of seven had in the first half. The seventh was a shot by Weaver with four seconds left to give the Herd a 30-22 advantage at halftime.
Weaver hit four 3-pointers to finish with 12 points to lead the Herd. The 10 3-pointers hit by Marshall tied a season-high set against Jackson State and also tied the most given up by Memphis in a game this season.
Marshall outrebounded Memphis 42-39 with 21 rebounds coming on the offensive end.
The Herd's first conference win was highlighted by a 13-6 advantage in second-chance points and a 17-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
Dickson led Memphis (13-9, 4-4) with 22 points -- 18 of which came in the second half.
Marshall will look for its second-consecutive conference win at 7 p.m. on Thursday against UCF in Orlando.
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