Herd women’s basketball readies for Conference USA Tournament matchup against USM

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After winning a three-way tiebreaker for the No. 8 seed, the Marshall University Thundering Herd women’s basketball team will play the No. 9 Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the first round of the 2020 Conference USA Tournament Wednesday in the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

The Herd enters the tournament after splitting its final two games in Florida last week as it beat the FIU Panthers Thursday night 59-57 in overtime, while it fell to the Florida Atlantic Owls Saturday 68-50. 

The Golden Eagles also split their final two games last week–as well as beating the Owls 59-55 Thursday night-but fell to UAB 90-46 Saturday. 

The Herd and the Golden Eagles met one time this season, back on Feb. 6 at Reed Green Coliseum as the Herd won 80-65 behind a career night from Herd junior forward Taylor Pearson who scored 21 points and made six three-pointers. The Herd put three others in double-figures that night as senior guard/forward combo Princess Clemons had 14 points, junior guard Kristen Mayo had 12 points and freshman guard Savannah Wheeler also scored 12 points. 

The last time these two teams met in the Conference USA Tournament was in 2009 in New Orleans as the two played in the semifinal round as the Golden Eagles won that game by one basket, 56-54. Unfortunately for Southern Miss, it lost in the championship 65-54 to the UCF Knights in a contest that took overtime to decide.

Head Coach Kemper said it is hard to beat a team twice in one season.

“The bottom line is we are getting some things done that our peers don’t think we can get done,” he said. “Now we need to go to Frisco and hopefully with some passion and some heart out there and find a way. It’s going to be a tough game, we tied with them in the regular season standing. We did beat them down there, it’s hard to beat them twice in the same year. They’ll make adjustments and we’ll have to counter them.

“We finished eighth, which was much higher than what we were picked, but I don’t feel that we are content as a program yet. We are getting some things done that people don’t anticipate us doing.”

On Wednesday afternoon, tipoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. EST/11 a.m. CST. The winner of Marshall and Southern Miss will move on to face the No. 1 seed, Rice Owls, on Thursday at 12 p.m. EST/11 a.m. CST. If the Herd shall advance all the way to the championship game that is set for Saturday, March 14, at 5:30 p.m. EST/4:30 p.m. CST. 

Spencer DuPuis can be contacted at [email protected]