The Herd was led against the Cougars by Casey Baker, who had 28 points, and Kizzy Hart, who had 27 points in the win at Houston. Marshall finished with the same conference record as both Memphis and East Carolina at 7-9, but the Herd gets the sixth seed on having the tiebreaker.
"Tiebreaker is head-to-head, and we were 3-and-1 against East Carolina and Memphis," said MU head coach Royce Chadwick, whose team swept the Tigers and split with the Pirates. "You look at a tournament and there are usually a lot of close games. Good guard play is important when you play back-to-back-to-back, and we have two very good guards in Kizzy and Casey. We beat a top four team this weekend, with those two players leading us to shooting nearly 70 percent in the second half.
"This is why you have 'March Madness,' you toss the ball up and get after it. Anybody can beat anybody, and I have seen No. 11 seeds get hot and win it all. We're excited about the opportunity to play Tulane, the defending champs. They beat Tulsa by 20 and SMU - both of those game were at home, which is a big difference, but they will be tough to beat." Chadwick, who won in overtime at the New UCF Arena against the Knights, is glad to not be facing the home team but is impressed with the new building. "It is really nice. They are spending a ton of money down there on facilities. The great thing is we don't play the hosts, that's Southern Miss' challenge." In fact, Marshall would avoid both top-seeded UTEP as well as Central Florida unless the Herd makes the finals. "We have a long way to go to get there, but we have to beat Tulane first before we talk about anybody else."
Tulane is led by Ashley Langford, and the junior averaged 11.6 points per game and shoots 85 percent at the free throw line. Freshman Brittany Linsey averages ten point per game, along with 5.9 rebounds, 1.17 blocks and shoots 51 percent from the floor. The Wave beat the Herd in New Orleans, 61-56, on February 10. Tulane is No. 3 in the league in points allowed, giving up only 63.4 per game, and shoots 73 percent at the line, third-best in the league.
Hart, a one-year senior for the Herd, is averaging 14.4 points per game, sixth-best in C-USA, and chips in 1.9 steals per game. Baker is a junior and averages 11.8 points per game and leads the league with 3.2 steals per game. Alyssa Hammond is also in double figures at 10.2 points per game, shooting 51 percent from the field and 73 percent on free throws. The Herd is No. 3 in the league at 9.6 steals per game, and averages 68.3 points per game. MU averages 39.8 rebounds per game, and is led on the glass by freshman Tynikki Crook at 5.5 boards per game. Crook is also shooting 46 percent from the floor and blocks about one shot per game on average.
UTEP, SMU, UAB and Houston each earned first-round byes in the first round as the top four finishers. The No. 19 (AP)/No. 23 (Coaches) ranked Miners out of El Paso, Texas, have experienced a season of firsts as they became the first team in C-USA history to complete the league regular season schedule without a loss (16-0). The 2008 C-USA regular season champion enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed at 25-2 overall and with the nation's longest winning streak at 21 games. The Miners will play the 8 p.m. EST game on Friday, March 7 and face the winner of Thursday's first-round game between No. 8 seed East Carolina, defending its 2007 C-USA Championship title, and No. 9 seed Rice. The two teams met in the final regular season game in Houston with Rice winning its home game, 69-62.
ECU's Lady Pirates are led by junior LaCoya Terry, who is averaging 15.4 points while fellow junior Jasmine Young is averaging 14.4 points . Senior Nicole Days leads the squad with 7.7 rebounds per game. Rice has reached the C-USA championship game for the last two seasons. The Owls are currently riding a three-game winning streak heading into tournament play. Since the return of senior Valeriya Berezhynska to the lineup, the Owls have won five of their last eight games. Berezhynska averages 17.3 points and 10.2 rebounds in 20 games this season.
No. 2 seed SMU is led by senior Janielle Dodds with 14.9 points and 7.8 rebounds. SMU will play the first quarterfinal game at Noon on Friday, facing the winner of No. 7 seed Memphis and No. 10 seed Tulsa. Memphis, one of the most improved teams in C-USA, is averaging 66.6 points and 39.5 rebounds. Junior guard Jessica Hall leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.9 points per game, while junior forward Ashley Thornton leads the team in rebounding at 7.1 per game.
Tulsa carries a record of 10-19 and 6-10 into C-USA championship week. The Golden Hurricane is holding opponents to 63.4 ppg. The team is led by Larrissa Williams, who is a double-double threat at 14.1 and 9.7 points and rebounds, respectively. UAB, winners of two of its last three games, sports a No. 3 seed with an overall record of 14-15 and finished 10-6 in C-USA action. The Blazers are led by seniors Diamond Rogers (16.7) and Crystal McFadden (13.4). The Blazers will face Game 2 winner between No. 6 seed Marshall and No. 11 seed Tulane. Both games will tip at approximately 2:30 p.m. EST.
Houston rounds out the top four seeds and will face the winner of Game 3 at 5:30 p.m. EST between No. 5 seed Southern Miss and the No. 12 seed, the host school, UCF. UH senior guard Twiggy McIntyre ranks third in the league and 21st in the nation in free-throw percentage, hitting 86.6 percent. From three-point range, McIntyre is averaging 2.50 treys per game to lead C-USA. Southern Miss is averaging 72.8 points and 39.4 rebounds, while shooting a league-best 46.7 percent from the field and 76.2 percent from the line. Sophomore Pauline Love continues to lead the team in scoring and rebounding, at 16.8 points and 11.0 rebounds. No. 12 seed UCF concluded regular season action with its most wins in three seasons (10-19) under first-year head coach Joi Williams. The Knights sport two of the league's top freshmen in Tia Lewis and Emma Cannon. Single-game and session ticket packages are now available. Call the UCFAA Ticket Sales Office at 407-823-1000.
Final standing for this year:
2007-08 CONFERENCE USA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
Team C-USA/All Games
Southern Miss 8-8/17-12
E. Carolina 7-9/13-16
2008 C-USA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP, UCF Arena, Orlando, Fla., March 6-9
Thursday, March 6
Game 1: No. 7 Memphis vs. No. 10 Tulsa, 12 p.m.
Game 2: No. 6 Marshall vs. No. 11 Tulane, 2:30 p.m.
Game 3: No. 5 Southern Miss vs. No. 12 UCF, 5:30 p.m.
Game 4: No. 8 East Carolina vs. No. 9 Rice, 8 p.m.
Friday, March 7
Game 5: winner Game 1 vs. No. 2 SMU, 12 p.m.
Game 6: winner Game 2 vs. No. 3 UAB, 2:30 p.m. (possible MU game)
Game 7: winner Game 3 vs. No. 4 Houston, 5:30 p.m.
Game 8: winner Game 4 vs. No. 1 UTEP, 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 8
Game 9: winner Game 5 and 6 (broadcast on CBS College Sports Television), 3 p.m. (possible MU game)
Game 10: winner Game 7 and 8 (broadcast on CBS College Sports Television), 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 9
Game 11: winner Game 9 and 10 (broadcast on ESPN2), 3:30 p.m. All Times Are Eastern.
All games for the Marshall Thundering Herd women's basketball team are heard all season, including the C-USA Tournament, on WMUL, Marshall University's student station, 88.1-FM. Coverage of the games is available on-line at www.marshall.edu/wmul. There will also be coverage provided by CBS College Sports Television (formerly CSTV) All-Access, found at the Marshall official athletic website, www.HerdZone.com, where fans can also pull up "Game Tracker" to follow scoring in the games for all Herd sports.