After losing four straight games, The Marshall University women’s basketball team needs to find a way to bounce back into the winning column.
The issue may be pinpointing exactly what the trouble may be, and as the season has progressed, the fault may be inexperience. There has been no specific issue to the cycling of problems as the Thundering Herd progressed through the season.
“We put this schedule together this year to learn about ourselves and we are learning,” Coach Matt Daniel said. “This is going to help this young team. We don’t like what we see every day, but we have a chance to be better the next play or the next day.”
The spell of bad luck started in El Paso against the Miners. A 10-point defeat seemed to be a minor blip as Marshall controlled most of the following game against Southern Mississippi. The Golden Eagles overcame a massive Herd onslaught resulting in a big lead, taking the lead in the closing minutes and accomplishing just enough to frustrate and defeat Marshall.
Louisiana Tech took advantage the ground work Southern Mississippi laid two days later. The Thundering Herd were competitive as a single possession game at halftime spiraled out of control. A 2-point game at halftime turned into an 18-point defeat.
Western Kentucky was the opponent last Saturday, one week after the Louisiana Tech game. This game featured a similar outcome as a valiant effort was undone by the fourth quarter. A single possession game slipped wide open as WKU started the fourth quarter fast and Marshall could not catch up.
While this is not a streak the team is proud of, it is not the end of the world either. This stretch of games represents the toughest stretch of games on the schedule. WKU, LT and Southern Miss are three of the top five teams in Conference USA. The problem is that this stretch is not over yet.
Marshall will travel for the next two games, and will be playing at Birmingham and Murfeesboro respectively. While University of Alabama-Birmingham is near Marshall in the standings, the Blazers series record is tied at 12 all time with Marshall, although Marshall has won the last three.
The other game on the horizon though, is with league leading Middle Tennessee State University. The Blue Raiders have been dominant in basketball this season, with both teams leading C-USA.
One of the oldest clichés in sports is the team that comes together seemingly at random and starts overcoming adversity. While it may not necessarily be that time quite yet, the ground work for the turnaround is being laid around the youthful squad.
Joseph Ashley can be contacted at [email protected]