Lady Eagles Face Tough Road Matchup Against Marshall

Tamara Jones goes for the basket as the lady eagles beat Rice last week in the Reed Green Coliseum. -Courtesy Photo
Tamara Jones goes for the basket as the lady eagles beat Rice last week in the Reed Green Coliseum. -Courtesy Photo

Riding a two-game winning streak, the Southern Miss women’s basketball team will go on the road Thursday to face Marshall in what should be an evenly matched contest.

In the last matchup between the two, Southern Miss defeated Marshall 80-73 at home.

With recent back-to-back wins, the Lady Eagles (12-6, 5-2) rank third in the Conference USA standings and have an opportunity to move up if they can score efficiently, play solid defense and win the battle on the boards.

Marshall (12-6, 4-3) will be a true test for the Lady Eagles unlike their last two opponents in Rice and North Texas, who sit at 12th and 13th in the conference, respectively.

Marshall enters the game coming off a solid victory against UTEP, 76-71. Currently, the Thundering Herd rank sixth in the conference and second year head coach Matt Daniel will look to earn a solid victory at home.

Offensively, Marshall distributes the ball around the floor with four players averaging double figures in points this season. Any of the four can make big plays at any point in time during the game.

Marshall guard and forward Leah Scott averages 14 points per game and nearly seven rebounds per game as the leading scorer on the team. Scott also leads the team in field goal attempts, field goals made, three-point field goal percentage, free throw attempts and free throws made.

However, Marshall also features a 6-feet, 3-inch center in Chukwuka Ezcigbo, who averages 10 points per game and serves as the driving force as to why Thundering Herd rank first in defensive rebounding. Individually, Ezcigbo ranks second in the conference in offensive rebounding and fifth in defensive rebounding.

Guards AJ Johnson and Norrisha Victrum lead the front court for Marshall, recording a combined average of nearly 26 points per game.

The Lady Eagles will have their hands full in terms of slowing down the offensive production from the Marshall guards and limiting the defensive boards.

Southern Miss has all necessary weapons on offense and defense to win the game. Senior forward Tamara Jones leads the team in scoring with 16 points per game.

While much of the offensive production falls on the play of Jones, it will be important for guards Jerontay Clemons and Brooke Rhodes to have solid performances in the game. They must be able to score, make smart decisions and make big plays when needed.

Rebounds, second chance points and turnovers will be crucial factors in determining the outcome of the game.

Marshall ranks first in defensive rebounding but 13th in offensive rebounding, while Southern Miss ranks seventh in defensive rebounding and 10th in offensive rebounding.

The Lady Eagles should have a good opportunity to score after their first attempt in any possession due to Marshall’s inability to crash the boards on offense. Sophomore forward Kierra Jordan, senior forward Voche` Martin along with other Lady Eagle players must contribute in snagging all loose balls on the floor and off the rim.

Defensively, Marshall ranks second in scoring defense while Southern Miss ranks fifth. The Lady Eagles must limit Marshall from going on huge offensive runs, leading within the last five minutes of the game, scoring 61 or more points and shooting 40 percent or better from the floor. In each of those categories, the Thundering Herd are undefeated.

If the Lady Eagles can get the road victory, it will be good for the them moving forward down the stretch of the season that will feature other conference road tests.

Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.