Saturday, 08 December 2012 23:58

Strength in paint leads to 70-66 Herd women’s win over Southern Illinois

Written by  MU SPORTS INFORMATION RELEASES, edited by Woody Woodrum for HI


CARBONDALE, Ill. — Marshall forwards Chukwuka Ezeigbo and Veronica Ruiz scored career bests for points to helped Marshall earn a 70-66 win against Southern Illinois on Saturday afternoon in the SIU Arena.
Marshall improved to 5-4 for the season and recorded its first road victory of the year. The Salukis dropped to 1-7 with the loss.
“It’s hard to get them on the road,” said head coach Matt Daniel. 
“You could tell that against a team (SIU) that just got its first home win the other night. You could hear and see the things they were talking about — we’ve been here before, we can fight back — that’s the way they played for the last three minutes of the ball game.”
Ezeigbo and Ruiz each finished the contest with 17 points. 
Ezeigbo went 5-for-12 in the field and was 7-of-9 from the free throw line. 
Ruiz went 6-of-11 from the field and was 5-of-6 from the free throw stripe.
“We are just going to go play and then try and figure out how to take advantage of them as the game goes,” Daniel said. 
“That can change from game to game, but I thought those two did a good job. I’m really happy for Chika on her birthday to be able to get a road win.”
On the boards, Marshall grabbed 44 rebounds, plus-14 to Southern Illinois’ total of 30. The Herd has yet to lose a game this season when controlling the rebounding margin. 
20 of the rebounds came off the offensive glass, and the Marshall combined for 21 second chance points.
Three different players finished with eight rebounds including freshman point guard Norrisha Victrum and forwards, Ruiz and Leandra King.
SIU struggled to contain Marshall’s post game as the Herd totaled its most points in the paint for the season with 34.
On defense, Marshall totaled 11 steals and forced 16 Saluki turnovers. The Herd was able to turn the SIU mistakes into 25 points off turnovers.
“We out-rebounded them, we got to the free throw line more, and we turned it over less,” Daniel said. 
“If you do those things, you have a shot to win games. That’s where we were at today.”
Marshall jumped to a 17-12 lead after eight minutes of play, with Ezeigbo scoring nine points during the span.
Eighteen points in the paint helped Marshall go on a 17-3 run to push to the lead to 30-15 with seven minutes left in the opening period.
The Herd went into the locker room at halftime with a 35-28 advantage.
Marshall went 10-of-13 from the free throw line in the half and combined for a plus-four rebounding margin (23-19), as seven Saluki turnovers led to 14 points for the Herd.
Weaver extended the Marshall lead to 38-28 in the first two minutes of the second half with a three-pointer from the top of the key and would finish the game with nine points.
The Herd never trailed in the second half and finished the period with 12 points from the free throw line and a plus-10 rebound margin (21-11).
Marshall will return home for the next three games, beginning with a 2 p.m. contest against long-time rival Ohio University in Cam Henderson Center on Saturday, Dec. 15, after the Herd completes final exams with the rest of the Marshall student body this week.
Marshall will also be home on Dec. 20 (versus former Southern Conference rival Furman) and on Dec. 22 (Tennessee Tech) for games that also start at 2 p.m.

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