Women’s basketball wins season opener


Richard Crank

Kristen Mayo is all smiles at the Herd Madness event in October 2019.

Winning its first game of the season by 49 points, the Marshall University women’s basketball team defeated Kentucky Christian University 89-40 on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at the Cam Henderson Center.

Beginning the game on a 21-0 run, the Thundering Herd’s lead was never in doubt.

“It’s good to be 1-0,” Head Coach Tony Kemper said. “It was good to do it here at home, (but) we have a lot of room to get better.”

11 different Marshall players saw the floor, including four newcomers.

Kemper said it is all about meshing the returning experience with the talented newcomers.

“In that respect, we’re a work in progress,” Kemper said. “I’ve got to be really vocal. I’ve got to make sure we stay organized.”

Kemper said he was pleased with his team’s effort to start the game and in the second half, but he was not happy with the team’s effort in the second quarter.

Only winning the second quarter 17-10, it was by far Marshall’s worst scoring quarter of the contest.

“We showed that our top end is pretty high, but our consistency has got to improve,” Kemper said.

Four players reached double figures in the game for Marshall, led by junior guard Kristen Mayo with 19 points. Mayo was eight of 13 from the floor with three assists and five steals.

“There’s still obviously a lot of areas I can probably improve on,” Mayo said. “But overall, I think it was a good start to the year.”

Scoring 18 points in her Marshall debut, freshman guard Savannah Wheeler shot 66% from the field on nine shots and was perfect at the free-throw line, going 4-4.

“She did a really good job of getting other people involved,” Kemper said. “She’s going to be a playmaker for us.”

After scoring the first eight points of the contest, junior forward Taylor Pearson’s scoring pace slowed down, finishing with 12 points. She also led the team in assists with five.

Rounding out the double-digit scorers, redshirt senior guard Khadaijia Brooks tallied 11 total points to go along with a team-leading eight rebounds.

As a team, Marshall shot 50% from the field, while KCU only shot 27%.

33 turnovers for KCU in the contest led directly to 39 Marshall points, and 24 of those 33 turnovers were Marshall steals, resulting in many fast break opportunities, to which Marshall held a 32-2 advantage.

“I’m not sure (the defense) is in its top end,” Kemper said. “24 steals are great, but we’re going to improve on defense.”

While KCU had a negative assist-turnover ratio, Marshall had a slightly positive one with 17 assists to its 15 turnovers.

“I think this is going to be an unselfish team,” Kemper said. “I’m excited about that.”

The Marshall women’s basketball team returns to the court to face Norfolk State at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Cam Henderson Center.

Grant Goodrich can be contacted at [email protected].