Marshall, Jackson St. Open Fifth Third Tourn

Marshall's women's basketball team will host the sixth-annual Fifth Third MU Classic starting Friday at 11 a.m. with a match-up with the Jackson State Tigers. The 1 p.m. game will be Pittsburgh versus Harvard, and all three teams invited to the Herd's tournament were in the post-season last year. Pitt, a pre-season top 25 team, and Harvard were in the NCAA, while Jax St. played in the WNIT.

Marshall opened the season with three losses in the Pre-season WNIT, falling at Evansville (77-89), then taking back-to-back losses to IUPUI (49-60) and Radford (61-72). Since then, Marshall has won two straight. Marshall scored 12 points in the final 38 seconds to send the game at Morehead State to overtime and then won, 83-79. Marshall's home opener last Saturday was a 79-66 win over Niagara.

The Herd has four starters averaging double figure scoring, led by juco transfer Casey Baker at 13.4 points per game. Also in double-digits are senior Kizzy Hart (10.4), senior Meagan Samis (10.0) and sophomore Alyssa Hammond (11.0), and Samis and Hammond are both at five rebounds per game to led the team in that category. Marshall is averaging 70 points per game and shooting 41 percent from the floor, 36 percent from three and 69 percent at the line.

Jackson State, the Southwestern Athletic Conference regular season champ, is led by LaSharee Christian with 16.4 points, 6.0 reboundsa and 3.4 assists per game, but no other player is averaging more than six points per game. The Tigers are coming off a win over Georgia State, 68-60, but have losses at Arkansas along with losses to Loyola-Marymount (39-69) and San Diego State (44-63) in the LMU Thanksgiving Tournament. The were picked second in the pre-season behind last year's SWAC Tournament champ, Prairie View A&M who beat Jackson State in the finals of the tourney. Christian was named to the pre-season All-SWAC team. It will be the first meeting between Jackson State and Marshall.


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