Women's Basketball Wraps Up Great Year

At the Radisson Hotel on Friday night, the women's basketball team at Marshall celebrated the first winning season since 1996-97 and four great seniors with the annual banquet. Coach Royce Chadwick handed out letter awards, individual honors and congratulations to the team for an 18-12 mark, 10 wins in Mid-American Conference play and advancing to the semi-finals of the MAC Tournament in Cleveland. He also set the tone for returning players to expect even more in 2004-05.

Catie Knable, Marshall's only four-year senior, received her letter award along with the Captain's Award, sharing that honor with fellow junior college seniors (two letters at MU) Amy Smith and Nadia Swanigan. Knable was also named the Donna Lawson Leadership Award winner which is given to the team most valuable player, as voted by the team.

"Thanks to everyone and especially my teammates," said Knable. "Thanks for missing all those shots, I would have never gotten so many rebounds without you." Knable ended her career with 910 career rebounds, number two all-time for MU women's basketball and Top-15 all-time in the MAC. She led the team and the MAC with 9.2 rebounds per game and 10 double-doubles (double figure points and rebounds in a game). She also led the team with a 82 percent free throw shooting clip; 29 starts; and 88 personal fouls. "I started to think of Marshall as my 'home' by my junior year, that going back (from her home in Floyds Knobs, Indiana) to Marshall was going home, instead of the other way. Thanks to fans. Thanks to coaches, who I learned a lot of basketball from and lots about life. Thanks to my parents, the people who through everything were always there for me." Knable saw the Herd improve from only 19 wins her first two seasons to 30 wins the last two years.

Sophomore Sikeetha Shepard-Hall, who received her second letter award as well, was named Offensive MVP by her teammates, leading the Herd with 11.8 points per game in a team-leading 28.2 minutes per game. She scored 17 points against Buffalo in game one of the MAC Tournament at the Cam Henderson Center (for the first time in MU history) and followed that up with 26 versus Kent State in Marshall's first win at Gund Arena. It was her eighth double-figure scoring game in a row. Other player awards were: Co-Most Improved, given to freshman center Modupe Ishola (led team with 21 blocks and 53 percent field goal shooting) and freshman KaShawna Curry, both of whom earned their first letters; Most Versatile, given to junior college transfer Kim Griffin (1st letter); Sixth Man Award, given Mary Pat Statler, the sophomore who sat out the 2002-03 season as a transfer from St. John's, who earned her first MU letter and led Herd with 37 percent shooting from the three-point line; and Best Defender, given to freshman Teyonka Hodge, who had a team-leading 68 steals and 91 assists as the point guard.

Coaches awards were for: Academic Award, given to junior Jamie Kellerman (3rd letter); Perserverance Award, given to L'Erin Scott, a junior college transfer who earned her first letter at Marshall; Adversity Award, for overcoming same, given to Jameeka White, who also got her first letter; and the Comeback Award, given to Crystal Champion, who recovered from a month-long knee injury at the start of the season to be a starter in some games late in the year.

Marshall had the first winning season since joining the MAC, they started the year 5-0 (fourth best start in school history and best since 1971-72), the team received Marshall's first-ever votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 in December, recorded the best-ever MAC regular season win mark (8-3) and won both the Fifth/Third -Marshall Classic for the second straight year and beat Toledo for the first time in school history. Marshall also averaged 1,082 fans per home game and 1,030 per all contests, the first time ever for the Herd to average over 1,000 per games at home and the road in the same season. Marshall posted 764 season tickets sold, tripling the most ever sold before.

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