Player of the week

McKenzie Akers


Andrea Steele

Marshall University women’s basketball team beat the University of Southern Mississippi Lady Eagles 67-65 in the Cam Henderson Center Thursday.

Position: Guard

Class: Sophomore

Hometown: Princeton, West Virginia

The Marshall University basketball season concluded Sunday with the women’s quarterfinal loss to Mercer University in the Women’s Basketball Invitational, but McKenzie Akers had two of her strongest showings of the season. Akers scored 18 points on a career-high six three-pointers in the opening round of the invitational, leading the Thundering Herd to an upset of No.1 seeded Northern Kentucky University, and the program’s first postseason victory of the NCAA era. In the quarterfinal, Akers continued her hot shooting, scoring 11 points and going 4-5 from the field with three of her made field goals coming from beyond the arc. Akers averaged 14.5 PPG and a sizzling 9-12 on threes during the Invitational.

Since coming to Marshall, Akers has served as an effective outside shooting threat due to her quick release and confidence from three. After struggling with her shooting efficiency from three as a freshman, Akers has seen substantial improvement, increasing her three-point percentage from 27.9 last season to 34.4 percent this year. Her 53 made three-pointers and 34.4 percent clip both ranked second on the team this season. Akers offers more, however, than just her shooting, as she was a reliable and pesky defender this season, showing awareness and effort. Also, Akers was asked to assume more ball handling duties late in the season after point guard Norrisha Victrum was sidelined with an injury.

Akers on her work this past offseason to improve her three-point shooting: “I worked on my footwork to speed it up and try to get shots off quicker. I worked all the way up to trying to get a quicker release, and trying to do it as quick as I would in a game.”

Bradley Heltzel can be contacted at [email protected]