Panthers Outlast Herd Women’s Basketball Late Rally, 68-65

 

The Marshall University women’s basketball losing streak grew to three as its comeback fell short Thursday night to FIU, 68-65, in the Cam Henderson Center.

The Thundering Herd fell to 7-12 overall (2-6 Conference USA), while the Panthers improved to 5-15 on the season (2-7 C-USA).

The Panthers were seemingly locked in tonight as the team’s shooting percent on the season coming into the contest was 36.5% from the field and  29.1% from beyond the arc. Tonight the team shot 44.4% from both. Forward Ieva Spigule playing in just her 10th game this season paced the team with 18 points, 6-for-11 from the field and 6-for-10 from the three-point line, as the senior came off the bench and her teammates were able to find her wide open multiple times.

“They were (on the top of their game),” Marshall Head Coach Tony Kemper said. “They shot the ball statistically better than typical. If you’re a shooter and they leave you open, your supposed to make it.”

FIU was able to get going early and it outscored the Herd 23-13 in the first quarter with 53.8% shooting range from the field (7-for-13) and 60% from beyond the arc (6-for-10), while Marshall sputtered shooting only 18.8% from the field (3-for-16) and only 11.1% from the three-point line (1-for-9).

“It was a disappointing result,” Kemper said. “Give credit to FIU, they came in and made a bunch of shots and knocked us out. We have to make some big shots and plays and, right now, we’re struggling to do that. I’m frustrated right now, and I think our team is, too. We have to find a way to get out of the wilderness.”

Freshman guard Savannah Wheeler led the Herd with a career high 22 points (6-for-14), four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Senior guard/forward combo Princess Clemons tallied her first career double-double with 12 points (4-for-11), 12 rebounds and four assists.

The Herd accumulated 28 points in the paint, 14 off turnovers, seven second chance shots and just four from the bench.

Four Panthers reached double digits in scoring including Spigule, as redshirt senior center Chelsea Guimares poured in 13 points (5-for-9), 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Freshman guard Fujika Niimo scored 11 points (4-for-9) to go along with two rebounds. And junior guard Diene Diane added 10 points (4-for-12), six rebounds, three assists and onesteal.

Up next for the Herd, the team welcomes the Florida Atlantic Owls at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon in the Cam Henderson Center.

Spencer DuPuis can be contacted at [email protected]