MU Women Play Defense, Down NIU, 58-55 On TV

"We are who we are right now," said Marshall women's coach Royce Chadwick, "and right now, we're playing really good defense." Marshall got a burst of defense -mixed in with a burst of Sikeetha Shepard-Hall offense- and dispatched the Northern Illinois Huskies, 58-55, on Sunday at the Henderson Center. The game was live on Fox SportsNET...

"I just felt confident in myself and stepped up and shot the ball like coach told me to do," said MU's Sikeetha Shepard-Hall of her 22 point outing against the Huskies. "I'm more confident in myself. I didn't hesitate today."

In the first five minutes of the first half, Shepard-Hall accounted for 9 of Marshall's first 11 points on the board. Marshall amassed a large (for this game) 6-point lead in the first half at 26-20. However, Northern's Rachel Sillar drained a three-pointer at the buzzer to give NIU the slim 27-26 halftime lead.

Sikeetha Shepard-Hall amassed 22 points to lead all scorers in The Herd's 58-55 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday.

"We turned it over a ton, which is just inexperience mistakes," said Chadwick. In fact, all of The Herd's 19 turnovers occured in the game's first 32 minutes: MU did not turn the ball over the final 8 minutes.

Lindsay Secrest's three pointer with 10:53 remaining gave NIU a 40-36 lead, but Marshall countered with an 11-4 run and took the lead for good on Catie Knable's three-pointer with 4:08 remaining, 47-44.

Marshall forced three late NIU turnovers and capitalized on them to seal the win. Shepard-Hall drained a three and added five free throws in the final 2:43 to seal the win.

"The difference in the game for us was that we played really well defensively," added Chadwick. "Made it really difficult for them to get easy baskets."

The proof lies in the Huskies only shooting 37.7% (20-of-53) for the game. On the other side, Marshall hit 48.8% (21-of-43), including an even 50% (5-of-10) of three-pointers.

In addition to Shepard-Hall's 22 points, Mary Pat Statler scored 10 as the only other MU player in double figures.

"We played 'February-caliber' defense," summed up Chadwick, but added, "we're still preparing to be really good in March."

Marshall bumped up to 14-10 overall and 6-7 in the MAC with the TV win, while NIU dropped to 10-15 and 5-9 in the MAC with the loss.

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