Daniel emotional following Herd's win
HUNTINGTON -- To those who say exhibition games don't matter, meet Marshall women's basketball coach Matt Daniel.
Daniel was brought to tears while speaking about his team's 67-50 win over Kentucky State on Sunday afternoon at the Cam Henderson Center.
It certainly wasn't about the win.
Instead, it was about seeing his players' faces light up once things started to click in the final six minutes of the exhibition.
"You can keep the wins and losses and I mean that," Daniel said. "It's not about that at all. Not to me. I would like to win. I want them to be better, feel better, feel strong, feel empowered, and I want them to play hard and act right. That's what it's about."
As Daniel's voice quivered, Jasmine Shaw sat beside him in the post-game press conference and teared up, too.
Shaw had just poured in 18 points to lead the Herd over a Kentucky State team that featured a pair of players that she knew from her hometown of Cincinnati.
In the second half, Shaw kept the Herd in front as the Thoroughbreds tried to make a run to get back into the game.
Kentucky State clawed back within 49-43 with 6:12 left, but the rest of the game belonged to the Herd as confidence grew with each basket.
With the shot clock winding down, Shaw powered through two defenders and put a shot off the glass and in to get things in full motion.
Erica Woods followed with a drive down the baseline for a layup before Orlandria Williams kicked the ball out to Shaw for a 3-pointer. Layups by Chuckwuka Ezeigbo and Suporia Dickens followed before a 3-pointer by Shay Weaver punctuated an 18-4 run that sealed the game for the Herd.
Seven different players scored during the run and there wasn't a player on the bench that didn't have a smile on their face at game's end.
It's the epitome of what Daniel has been seeking to bring out in his team -- confidence and swagger.
"That's what you want," Daniel said. "The game was meant to be played with fire and desire. It's a passion that you cannot contain."
Shay Weaver added 11 points and a team-high four assists as Marshall dished out 18 assists on 23 made baskets.
Daniel said part of what made Sunday a successful day was because several players, including both Shaw and Weaver, stayed after the team's pregame meal and opted to hang out together in the locker room instead of going back home until game-time.
So Daniel, too, stayed with his players and even beat up on Shaw twice in head-to-head video game battles.
Shaw even joked that it was the reason she had the strong on-court performance today.
"I had a chip on my shoulder because I lost to him in a game today, so I had to go out there and take it out on somebody else," Shaw said.
Sunday was not just a big step in getting the Herd ready for the season-opener, which is next Friday at noon at Cam Henderson Center against Radford.
It was a big step in Daniel building the program the way he wants to.
That would be by building a family.