MU women win opener
HUNTINGTON -- The head coach Matt Daniel era of Marshall University women's basketball is off to a good start, with the Thundering Herd defeating the Radford Highlanders, 65-63, in the season opener Friday at Cam Henderson Center.
Marshall led for most of the game, but things turned sloppy in the second half. Marshall had 25 turnovers and Radford had 22. Fourteen of Marshall's turnovers occurred in the second frame.
"I don't care how it's done. ... we'll take the mark in the left-hand column and move on to Indiana State," first-year head coach Daniel said. "Radford is very experienced, but I could tell we, our team, needed to win that game. We didn't need to come up short on the scoreboard and we were fortunate enough" to get the win.
Having whittled a late six-point deficit down to two, Radford had two chances to tie or take the lead within the last minute, but didn't get a shot off on either possession. The first ended in a turnover, and the second resulted in a shot from behind the basket on the baseline that was released after the final buzzer sounded, and didn't get anywhere near the rim.
"That was a mix of schemes," Daniel said of his defense. "Sometimes you have to play a little bit of trickery with this group and say you want to do one thing because you know they'll do the other."
The afternoon home crowd of 2,714 spectators consisted mostly of elementary and middle school students on a field trip and made a ton of noise for the Herd.
"I'll take a field day any day, because that's the kind of environment I want to be a part of," Daniel said.
Marshall was led by sophomore shooting guard Shay Weaver, who scored a career-high 19 points, while going 4-7 from 3-point range.
The Herd didn't trail until two free throws put the score at 46-45 in Radford's favor with 12:11 left.
Weaver scored a layup and hit a foul shot to give the Herd the lead back, 50-49, with 9:44 to go. With 8:02 left, Weaver hit a three that put Marshall up 53-51, and then another to extend the lead.
"I was just coming off the screens and got good passes from my teammates," Weaver said.
"One of the things that Shay did today, is she really competed," Daniel said. "She didn't get lost in the shuffle. She stuck her nose in there and was trying to win the game, not individually, but as part of the whole."
Junior Suporia Dickens also had a career high with 12 points. She was 4-9 from the floor and 4-6 from the free throw line.
Radford tied the game 63-63 when Ayana Avery stuck a three with 1:15 remaining. Avery led the Highlanders with 18 points.
Marshall took the lead for good on the next possession, when Orlandria Williams knocked down two free throws. Marshall wasn't great from the line, but hit the shots when needed.
Overall, the Herd shot 46 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range and 59 percent from the charity stripe.
The Marshall women next face the Indiana State Sycamores at 7 p.m., Monday, in Terrre Haute, Ind.