HUNTINGTON — As Marshall gets set for Saturday’s game against UTEP, the Herd women’s basketball team knows what to expect from the Miners.
Pressure, and lots of it.
UTEP is going to force the Herd guards into taking care of the basketball the full length of the court, which is something that will be a team effort, according to head coach Tony Kemper.
Marshall was able to handle UTSA’s pressure down the stretch Thursday, getting the ball up the floor and working it back to guards. That was encouraging for Kemper, but it was nothing like what will be seen Saturday afternoon.
“We’re getting ready to get pressed on Saturday,” Kemper said.
“It’s a completely different team than what you see night in and night out in our league. They are going to press every make, speed you up, and they have a couple different looks that they run.”
Two players who have the ability to make a difference in helping guards Savannah Wheeler and Kristen Mayo break the press are forwards Khadaijia Brooks and Princess Clemons.
Brooks is coming off a strong outing in which she finished with 11 points, but drew Kemper’s highest praise for her demeanor during the game and coolness on the court.
In a pressure situation on Saturday, Brooks’ senior leadership will be called on to calm things as UTEP forces the pace.
Clemons also has shown an ability to facilitate the team in several different areas, whether scoring, rebounding or in ball-handling as well.
Where Clemons is normally drawing a post player defensively, she has the ability to take advantage of the mismatch to get the ball into the offensive end safely while limiting mistakes.
Both will be needed against a UTEP team that thrives on mistakes.
The Miners lead Conference USA in turnovers forced at 19.5 per game.
Marshall has to weather those mistakes and execute well in taking care of the basketball to not allow the Miners into runs that could break the game open.
UTEP (13-10, 6-6 C-USA) is led in scoring by Katarina Zec, who is averaging 13.0 points per game. Ariona Gill is next at 11.1.