Women’s team selected to NIT


Lexi Browning

Marshall’s Kiana Evans rushes toward the hoop for a two-point shot as the Herd takes on Middle Tennessee for the C-USA Women’s Basketball Semi Finals on Friday in Birmingham, AL.

Marshall University’s women’s basketball team was selected to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament Monday, the selection committee announced.

Marshall faces Ohio University Thursday in the first round of the WNIT in Athens, Ohio.

Game time will be announced Tuesday.

Marshall head coach Matt Daniel said he envisioned a postseason berth considering his team’s strong finish to the season.

“The ride that we’ve been on so far, hitting blackjack is all I could call it, winning 21 games for the first time in 30 years,” Daniel said. “I think we are going to have a shot to go win number 22. I think that our body of work speaks for itself when you talk about postseason play.”

The 64-team field for the 2016 Postseason WNIT includes 36 teams with 20 or more victories, including the Herd (21-11).

First-round action of the tournament tips off Wednesday and concludes Friday.

Aside from Marshall, three other schools from Conference USA were selected to the tournament: the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of Texas at El Paso and Western Kentucky University.

Eventual C-USA champion Middle Tennessee State University defeated Marshall, 69-41, Friday in the semifinals of the C-USA Tournament.

Throughout Friday’s contest, the Herd’s offense struggled to create quality looks offensively, as its guards seemed to struggle with Middle Tennessee State’s defense sticking to its hip on every ill-fated drive attempt.

“We didn’t have it,” Daniel said. “We just didn’t have the magic. You could tell in the free shooting; it was just tough. You got to go to work on the bad days too.”

The Herd hung tough in the short term as it trailed 20-15 after the opening quarter, but the effectiveness of Middle Tennessee State’s defense and the Herd’s overall fatigue began to neuter its offensive performance thereafter.

Marshall scored just 26 points combined in the remaining three quarters of action.

The Herd battled to within 12 midway through the third quarter, but Middle Tennessee State proceeded to go on a 13-4 to close out the quarter and essentially, end the game as it entered the fourth quarter with a 55-34 lead.