Marshall women pull stunning upset over UTEP, 59-47
HUNTINGTON -- The Marshall Thundering Herd women's basketball team shocked UTEP with a 59-47 win over the Miners Thursday night at the Cam Henderson Center.
Marshall (8-15, 2-8 Conference USA) got a stellar performance from Suporia Dickens, who scored 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, in the win over UTEP (18-5, 6-4).
Shay Weaver also scored 13 for the Herd, while Erica Woods and Leandra King had 12 and 10, respectively.
Woods said she was more proud of her team's defensive effort, holding UTEP to 28 percent shooting and shutting out Kayla Thornton, who averages 15 points a game, from the floor.
Thornton scored a career-low two points, which came from the free throw line.
"Defense wins games," Woods said. "When we play tremendous defense, that's when we start hitting buckets. Good defense leads to good offense."
The Herd hit 10 3-pointers on the night, which ties a season high.
The team also weathered an 8-0 run by UTEP to end the first half, getting the Miners, who had trailed by double digits for most of the first 20 minutes, within six at the break. That run was extended when Anete Steinberga, who led UTEP with 21 points, scored the first four points of the second half.
But Marshall countered, as Woods hit a bucket and then a 3-pointer to get Marshall's offense back on track.
"We're growing up. We gave up two threes in 30 seconds," Marshall head coach Matt Daniel said. "And we went into the half and let (the team) know that they gave up two threes to end the half and they responded.
"We survived it, and we're better for it."
Marshall also responded well when UTEP applied the press, which typically would cause the team to fold up earlier in the season. The Miners were able to get a few turnovers out of the full-court defense, but the Herd eventually cracked it and started moving the ball up the floor for easy transition points.
"We ought to be real comfortable against the press, we've seen it enough times," Daniel said. "We'll see it every game we play for the rest of the year.
"I just think we're maturing and sometimes we're immature and we make mistakes, but as a whole I think we're maturing."
Daniel said he feels like Marshall has the chance to win every time the team takes the floor, but Thursday's win didn't settle in until the final buzzer.
"That's when it becomes real," he said. "Our team will tell you that's me. We floor it, and there's no let up. It's not over until it's over."
Still, Daniel did admit there was a bit of elation in beating a team that won the conference and conference tournament last year, and is in the hunt to do the same this season, although SMU (9-1, C-USA) looks like it might claim the title.
"We were pretty good all over the floor and that's how you beat a good team like UTEP," Daniel said. "UTEP's good, man. I mean they're good. If you asked our team a month ago who the best team in the league was they would have said UTEP. So we beat a team that was good even in our own team's mind."
Daniel said the team hits the practice floor at 8 a.m. Friday to get ready for its next game against UAB, which takes place Sunday at 3 p.m. in Birmingham, Ala.