Marshall women can see progress
HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University women's basketball coach Matt Daniel is never happy with any loss, no matter who the opponent was.
However, there were plenty of positives to take out of Tuesday's 64-48 loss to West Virginia, who is ranked No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
West Virginia coach Mike Carey said in his post-game press conference that Marshall outplayed his team and was more aggressive team on the court.
The effort put in by the players certainly pleased Daniel, who has seen growth in his team.
"I thought it was a pretty good, hard-fought game anyway, but I certainly appreciate the effort that our kids have given over the last couple of weeks for sure," Daniel said.
Daniel wants the Thundering Herd to keep its effort level high Saturday in a game at Southern Illinois (1-6).
In the first few games of the season and in Daniel's time as head coach, the Herd has struggled with inconsistencies in offensive execution.
Tuesday's contest with West Virginia was no different. The Mountaineers feature one of the nation's top defenses and forced the Herd into 26 turnovers.
However, Marshall also got several good looks at the rim and moved fluidly within the up-tempo pace that Daniel wants.
"We're not a hodge-podge group anymore, and we were," Daniel said. "We're starting to figure out how to execute. We threw different things at them tonight on both sides of the ball and it wasn't just chaotic. It was more organized. I thought our kids really battled."
It's all part of the growth process for the Herd. Whether players are veteran juniors and seniors or freshman point guard Norrisha Victrum, all the players are faced with the same task -- trying to learn a completely-new scheme and tempo from what they are accustomed to running.
"That's no different for all of them because they are all freshmen for me," Daniel said. "They are all in a new system and a young system...
"It's grow up or lay down. I think we're starting to get that lay down out of them. I think everyone is starting to see it. There's no moral victory obviously, but I'm starting to see head nods like 'Oh, okay.' Even in our locker room, they can see light at the end of the tunnel."
Eight games into the season, the Herd has an even 4-4 record with two of the losses coming down to the final minutes.
Daniel is excited that his team is starting to compete within its new system and he hopes to keep the momentum rolling on Saturday by picking up a difficult road win.
"Are we a championship-caliber team right now? No," Daniel said. "But that's where we're trying to head to, and I think they can see the level of basketball we want to play night in and night out."
Southern Illinois comes into the game with momentum after picking up its first victory of the season, 58-57, against Southeast Missouri State.
The Salukis have had defensive troubles in the early part of the season, but had their best effort of the year against SEMO to pick up the win.
Cartaesha Macklin leads the team with 13.7 points per game while Dyana Pierre is a post force inside, averaging eight points and 10.3 rebounds per game.
Marshall is led by Shay Weaver, who is averaging 12.1 points per game and three 3-pointers in each outing.