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HUNTINGTON — As things got really cold in Huntington this week, Marshall’s women’s basketball team was looking to stay hot.

In January, there’s no better place to stay hot than Florida, which is the Thundering Herd’s first road destination in Conference USA action.

Marshall (7-4, 2-0 C-USA) takes its four-game winning streak into FAU Arena for a 2 p.m. contest with Florida Atlantic on Saturday in Boca Raton, Florida.

Getting that fifth-straight win won’t be a walk in the sun, though, according to head coach Tony Kemper.

“We’re in a good place after the first week (of conference play),” Kemper said. “It’ll be a good challenge down in Florida. I think we’re excited for it, though, too.”

Part of the challenge for Marshall was even getting to Florida on Friday.

After the team’s flight from Huntington was cancelled early in the day due to inclement weather, Marshall traveled by bus to Columbus for flights in the evening, which forced the team to cancel a scheduled practice at FAU.

Nevertheless, Marshall comes into the weekend with confidence after sweeping its first conference weekend with wins over Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss. During those two wins, the Herd defense allowed 99 total points.

Kemper said the team’s defense has stood out over the last five games as the team has found itself.

It all comes down to the players understanding the gameplan of what they want to take away and what they are willing to allow the opposition before going out and executing the defensive scheme.

“I think we’ve got a smart group of basketball players that I think understand how we want to get things done,” Kemper said.

On the offensive end, Marshall is getting big contributions from Savannah Wheeler, who leads Conference USA at 20.6 points per game.

Forward Kennedi Colclough is also just outside the top-10 in the league, averaging 14.2 points per game.

Colclough and Wheeler are both in the top-7 in C-USA in field goal percentage on the season.

Florida Atlantic (4-7, 0-0 C-USA) has not won since Dec. 7 when they beat Florida Memorial, 71-63, on their home floor.

That was more than a month ago.

The Owls lost their next two home games to Richmond and Alabama A&M prior to Christmas before having their first Conference USA weekend postponed due to COVID-19 issues.

FAU has not played since Dec. 20.

The Owls have a balanced scoring attack with four players averaging in double-figures on the season.

Florida Atlantic is led by post players Amber Gaston (14.1 points, 6.6 rebounds) and Janeta Rozentale (12.2 points, 9.2 rebounds). Guards Alexa Zaph (12.3 points) and Rita Pleskevich (11.3 points) also are key in the Florida Atlantic attack.

Grant Traylor is the sports editor of The Herald-Dispatch, who also covers Marshall athletics for HD Media. Follow him on Twitter @GrantTraylor.

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