Marshall had four players in double figures, and two came off the bench. One of those was senior Meagan Samis, who led MU with 13 points on 6-of-8 from the field. Also off the bench was junior Meg Withrow, who had almost a perfect night: 5-of-5 from the floor, 2-of-2 from three but 0-for-1 at the free-throw line. Also with 12 points was junior Casey Baker, who had another monster night. Baker also had six assists, five rebounds, five steals and a career-best three blocks. Senior Kizzy Hart added 11 points, with three assists and three steals.
Tulsa's Teka Brooks couldn't get a hand on this shot by Marshall's Meagan Samis in the second half. Samis finished with 13 points. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Marshall tied its season-low with just 11 turnovers, tying the total in the win over Missouri. Four of those turnovers came in the last eight minutes, when only the final score was still in question. Marshall and Tulsa (7-10, 3-1 C-USA) were tied 7-7 with 17:45 to go in the first half, when the Herd went on a 15-0 run to take a 22-7 lead with just over 11 minutes left in the first half. Marshall led by 20 at half, 43-to-23, and Tulsa was never closer than 17 in the entire second half.
"When we get after it defensively," said head coach Royce Chadwick of win number 499 in his career, and number 99 at Marshall," if Kizzy gets a steal, if Meg gets a rebound, we get out and run with the ball, then we are an explosive offense. It usually comes from one of the guards getting a hand on the ball." All of Marshall's ten steals were by Withrow, Baker, Hart or senior guard Melody Hudson, and the 20 Tulsa turnovers marked the seventh time this season the Herd had 22 or more points off turnovers. Marshall is 7-0 in those game.
Casey Baker applied pressure to Tulsa's Kara Vaughan. Baker made 5 steals in the game and scored 12 points. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Marshall's coaching staff knew the going would be tough inside, as Tulsa came in leading the league with nearly seven shots blocked per game. Marshall drove into the lane a number of times to draw a double-team, only to kick the ball to an open teammate on the other side of the lane. MU had 22 assists on 30 field goals. "We are a very unselfish team," said Chadwick. "Everybody that was at our practices this week knew (the coaches) were in there blocking shots with our racketball rackets. We had some hard cases who took awhile to learn, but we had some girls who came out there tonight and said, 'No, you're not blocking my shot.'" Tulsa had five blocked shots in the first half, but none in the second half.
Marshall also won the rebounding battle, 37-34, despite being down three at the half against a Tulsa team that started no player shorter than 5-foot-8 and two, Chanel Johnson (14 points) and Larrissa Williams (12 points) who were both 6-foot-3. Marshall had 11 rebounds on the offensive end, and Chadwick attributes that to chemistry among his players. "A lot of the offensive rebounds come from tipped balls. Chantelle may tip it to Tynikki, who might knock it to Meg. Nobody cares who scores or who rebounds, just if Marshall wins." Chantelle Handy led the Herd with seven rebounds, Crook had five rebounds and nine points (six of which came in the second half), Baker added her five rebounds and Samis had four.
Kizzy Hart put up two of her 11 points over Tulsa's Destanie Gardner in the first half. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Sunday at 2 p.m., Marshall will face SMU, who rallied to tie and win 73-68 in overtime tonight at East Carolina. The Mustangs are 13-4 overall, and will match 3-1 Conference USA marks with Marshall. It will also be a chance for Chadwick to win his 500th game in 24 seasons of coaching as well as his 100th win in seven years at Marshall. Either UTEP (12-2 at the start of Friday play) or UAB (7-9 at the start of Friday play), who were at the half at press time, will be 4-0 and 3-1 in league play at the end of their game, while MU, Tulsa, SMU and Houston (9-9 overall) are all 3-1 coming into Sunday's slate. Marshall women's games can always be heard on Marshall student station WMUL 88.1 FM. A podcast of tonight's win over Tulsa is available at wrvc.com, and WRVC 930 AM will be live with the Marshall-West Virginia women's game on Wednesday in Charleston at the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic, followed by the men also on WRVC and The Dawg, 93.7 FM. Jeff "Crawdawg" Crawford will broadcast on The Dawg from 4-7 from the MU Alumni party in the South Hall of the Charleston Civic Center.