Herd Hushes Huskies, 91-50

Marshall women's basketball coach Royce Chadwick was so upset with the poor performance by his team Saturday in a loss to OU, he made the entire team stand in the rear of the media room and listen to the coach explain to the media why Marshall was so bad that afternoon. No such measures were needed tonight, as a fire-up Herd jumped on Houston Baptist early and never let up in a 91-50 rout Tuesday.

The Herd out-rebounded Houston Baptist (3-8) by 18 boards, 48-to-26 including a 16-to-8 edge on the offensive glass. Marshall shot 58 percent for the floor (41-of-71), second-best night of the season and beat the Husikes in the paint to the tune of 66-to-22. Marshall scored 29 points off 18 BHU turnovers and had 22 second chance points of the 16 offensive rebounds. Best of all, every player but one scored in the game while the team held the Huskies to just 19-of-57 for the game, 33 percent.

Alix Barnette put up two of her 15 points against Houston Baptist in the first half of The Herd's 91-50 win on Tuesday night. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

"It's just one game," said Chadwick of his team's first win in three games, improving the Herd to 6-3 on the season, "and we were certainly glad to have it where have it to prove we are a better basketball team than our last time out. I thought we came out with the right intensity, the right focus. We got contributions from everyone on our team."

Marshall was led in scoring by Tynikki Crook with 17 points, and a team-best seven rebounds, in just 18 minutes of playing time. Alix Barnett started and had 15 points, Chantelle Handy followed up a double-double against Ohio with 12 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes, and tied her career best with seven assists in the contest. Rashedah Henriques scored only two points, but had a season-best six rebounds, three assists and zero turnovers. Alyssa Hammond had 11 points off the bench, with five rebounds, in just 15 minutes on the floor.

But there were also a lot of firsts for the backups of the Herd on this night. Raechele Gray and Annette Kristiansen scored the first points of their careers with a field goal each. Keona Brooks his her first field goal and set a new rebound high with three. Kamille Lisonbee scored for the second time this year and pulled a season-best three rebounds. Alaya Mitchell scored nine points, topping her previous best of three against Tennessee State.

"I thought we played our best team game of the year, best since the Fifth Third Classic against Tennessee State," said Chadwick of the only game where the Herd shot better than tonight at over 65 percent. "We really needed the confidence boost and really needed the leadership the team showed to get ready for this Saturday's meeting with Richmond. Richmond is a really good basketball team, and we will really have to focus to get that deal done. I'm really proud."

Tynikki Crook got the basket -and the foul from UHB's Jelela Simpson- in the second half of The Herd's 91-50 win on Tuesday night. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

Chadwick, however, refused to take credit for the turnaround by his team. He said the team leaders were the ones who got this team going in practices on Sunday and Monday, which had to still work around the finals week at Marshall University that ended today for students and student-athletes.

"Honestly, our leaders fixed our team," said Chadwick. "They got them together and told the team that effort (versus Ohio) was not good enough. That was not us. It was one game, we have 21 left and they set the tone for our youngsters where they had to perform or be corrected by their peers in two days of spirited practices."

Pushed to name leaders, Chadwick started with his senior guard who has been battling a sore hip for some time. "No question that Casey Baker is the captain of the pirate ship here," said Chadwick. "We feed off of and we go when she goes. When she is on, we are on, but I think virtually any of these players who have been here with us - Chantelle Handy, Alyssa Hammond, Alix Barnett - all have opportunities to get out there and show how it is done."

Baker, who had three assists, three steals and only one turnover to go with seven points and four rebounds, agreed with her head coach. "The younger players are starting to get it," said the senior Baker. "We go hard in practice, everyday, we battle each other for positions, so the more they play the better they will get and they will be more confident in their games." Baker said the freshmen being better will make their teammates better, especially pushing they in practice."

"Tynikki Crook is becoming that type of leader (as a sophomore)," Chadwick continued. "I think you are seeing how it benefited Rashedah Henriques to be here in the spring. She's got an opportunity to show what she can do tonight, and I thought she did that. We have a very good nucleus of older players who nurture the younger players." Chadwick said every older player was assigned a "pup" to mentor into being a better player.

There was also the finals distraction. Although Chadwick downplayed that factor on Saturday, he was a little more ready to accept the reality of the strain finals puts on student-athletes. "I'm not trying to make an excuse, but we were really glad finals are over, and there is a sense of relief it is over." Chadwick named especially Angelica Harris, who after starting the year shooting over 60 percent went 1-for-7 against Ohio and 0-4 tonight, the only player not to score. Chadwick indicated most players got their posted grades earlier today and got the grades they expected.

Marshall's men's and women's team will have a final doubleheader this Saturday. The women will play the Spiders of Richmond at 3 p.m. in the Henderson Center, then the men will face The University of the Cumberlands at 7 p.m. Any fan who buys a ticket for the men's game will be admitted free to the women's game. The women will take a break after this game, not playing until Dec. 29-30 at the University of Maryland Tournament, facing Mississippi State at Noon on day one and either the Terrapins or UNC-Asheville on day two at Noon or 2 p.m. C-USA play opens Jan. 3 at East Carolina.

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