Southern Miss (15-10, 6-6 in C-USA) had four players in double figures in the win, including 23 points from Kendra Reed. Just third on the team with a 10.8 point per game average, Reed hit 7-of-13 shots with a 4-for-7 afternoon from behind the arc to pick up her game-best 23 points. Reed now has 1,163 points in her career at Southern Miss. Also in double figures were Pauline Love and Amber Eugene, with 14 each, and Andrea Barber added 10 points to go with seven assists and four steals.
"It was a very, very physical basketball game today. It was rough and tumble. I think we really missed our players that weren't here today to help give us some extra depth and humph in the paint," Marshall head coach Royce Chadwick said. "But I was very proud on the way our team fought. We seemed like we were behind all night long and kept in there and kept fighting from a deficit but we kept fighting in there. We had some opportunities. We left Reed open too many times, especially in the first half." Marshall played it second game without freshman center Tynikki Crook, who is back in Detroit, Mich., for her brother's funeral on Wednesday. Also out is junior guard Meg Withrow, with a back injury that may end the Nitro, W.Va., junior's season.
Getting her second consecutive start with Withrow sidelined was Alix Barnett, and she tied sophomore forward Alyssa Hammond for high scoring honors for Marshall with 16 points each. Both players hit 6-of-10 from the field, with Barnette 2-for-6 from three. Marshall hit just 3-of-13 from three, and that was the difference in the loss to USM. "We didn't play good enough defense down the stretch to win," said Chadwick, but he knew the 7-of-16 shooting from three was part of the problem on defense. "Half of those were Kendra Reed. Our game plan from the get-go was to deny her, but we forgot that a couple of times and she got a couple of open looks in transition. That's all it takes for a good shooter, to get her confidence up."
Even without the 6-foot-1 Crook, Marshall ended the game with a 35-to-29 edge on the glass. 14 of those rebounds were on the offensive end, but they led to just six second-chance points. Southern Miss also capitalized on turnovers, scoring 26 points off MU's 17 turnovers while Marshall only scored 21 points off 18 Eagle giveaways. "We knew they tend to lose games when they are held below 70, and win when they go over and we didn't defend well enough to win. We tried to take some charges, but were late getting there," said Chadwick. "They had some people step up off the bench who contributed." Tanesha Washington scored eight off the bench for USM. "We didn't do a bad job on the offensive end, and shot some turnaround fade-aways, but that's tough to do over a 6-foot-3 girl inside. You've got to hit some perimeter shots," said the MU coach. Besides Barnett's 2-of-6, the rest of the Herd hit just 1-of-7.
Marshall continues the longest home stand of the year on Thursday when the Herd hosts Memphis at 7 p.m. Marshall will play UAB at 5 p.m. Saturday, after the men face UCF at 2 p.m. that day. The UAB game will be Senior Day for the Herd's Meagan Samis, Melody Hudson and Kizzy Hart.