Herd women’s basketball loses heartbreaker to Southern Miss
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The Marshall University women’s basketball team lost a heartbreaker Thursday night at the Cam Henderson Center against Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles erased as much as a 21 point deficit, and scored 34 points in the final quarter to knock of the Herd by a final score of 82-78.
With the loss, Marshall moves to 12-9 and 4-6 in Conference USA play. Southern Miss is now 14-8 and 6-4 in Conference USA play.
“It’s a picture perfect lesson that we need to learn,” head coach Matt Daniel said following the game. “We got a little bit of fool’s gold in the first half the way we played; unbelievable. I’m disappointed, I hate that we had to learn this lesson in a loss. I wish it could’ve been in a win, but that’s why you play the game.”
It was a dominating first half for the Herd, as the team led 41-24 over the Golden Eagles at halftime. For Marshall, it was the Shayna Gore and Kiana Evans show. Of the 41 points the team scored, Gore had 17 and Evans had 13. No other Herd player had more than four points in the first two quarters of action. Gore, a sophomore from Logan W.Va., surpassed 700 total points for her career in the second quarter.
The second half was a completely different story. Southern Miss pressed and trapped the Marshall offense, forcing 13 turnovers in the half; seven in the final quarter. The Golden Eagles are known for their tenacious defense, as they force 22.9 turnovers per game. Down 14 heading to the final quarter, Southern Miss outscored Marshall 34-19 in the fourth quarter.
Marshall began the game on a 20-2 run and never trailed from the beginning of the game until 1:45 in the fourth quarter when Southern Miss took a 75-74 lead. Marshall then retook the lead with two free throws from Gore, only for Southern Miss to regain the lead permanently with 17 seconds to go.
“Towards the end, [Southern Miss] got three steals in a row,” sophomore guard Shayna Gore said. “I looked at [Talequia Hamilton] and said, ‘wow, we actually let them catch up.’ They were overall very quick and athletic.”
Several statistics were telling of the how the game occurred. Southern Miss senior guard Brittny Norris was a dominant factor for Southern Miss. She scored 35 points, 33 of which came in the second half. She was 7-12 from beyond the three-point line. For Marshall, the team went 17-30 from the free-throw line. While Marshall statistically shot a better percentage from the field (56.8 percent) than Southern Miss (42.3 percent), the Golden Eagles attempted a total of 71 field goals compared to Marshall’s 44.
One positive for the Herd was Shayna Gore, who finished with 27 points, two shy of her career high set in the opening game this season at Illinois. The Herd will now face a short turnaround on Saturday when Louisiana Tech comes to Huntington.
“This is going to help this young team,” Daniel said. “We’ll find out what we’re made of, because it certainly doesn’t get any easier on Saturday.”
The Herd will face off with Louisiana Tech on Saturday at the Cam Henderson Center. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.
Patrick O’Leary can be contacted at [email protected]