HUNTINGTON — Marshall Coach Matt Daniel had the flu, and with under a minute left took two timeouts and broke one dry erase board while down 16 points.
Needless to say, it was another tough day for the first-year coach of the Marshall women’s basketball team.
The Herd opened the game with six turnovers and fell behind by 10 points early, cut the lead to four at half but the Blazers pulled away late for a 61-45 win at the Cam Henderson Center in front of 517 fans.
Marshall falls to 0-5 in Conference USA, 6-12 overall, while UAB improves to 13-5, 4-1 in C-USA, but to say the Herd didn’t have a chance in this game, like so many in league play, would be a mistake.
“I told the girls in the dressing room … I don’t know what our record is, 0-5 … but I told them how close we are to winning the league,” said Daniel, who apologized for a scratchy voice while battling the nationwide flu.
“And that’s a really weird statement, but like today, we are about a foot away from making 10 plays from having UAB on the ropes.
“The mentality is what bothers me the most. When we do pre-practice warmup, we are not thinking about chip shots that matter, but I thought we competed for the most part.
“You can’t turn the ball over 22 times. We turn it over six times in the first minute to go down 13-3, then cut down on turnovers and win the rest of the first half.”
Marshall finished with 22 turnovers, 13 of which were steals for the Blazers and UAB scored 25 of its 61 points on turnovers.
Still, the Thundering Herd kept the game close until about the 10:30 mark of the second half, when the Blazers matched its earlier 10-point lead and stretched it to 15 points, 57-42, with 3:54 to play.
UAB was led by senior Amber Jones, who scored 15 of her game-high 21 points in the first half.
In the second half, junior Ashley Grimes scored all 12 of her points, including hitting 2-of-4 from three to help the Blazers pull away, while pre-season All-C-USA player Karisma Chapman added 18 points.
Once again, there were numerous bright spots for the Herd.
Daniel talked about all the things he likes about being in Huntington, his wife's job, their baby being born, the administration at Marshall, all except for one — the basketball, for now.
“We will get that fixed, we hope,” said Daniel. “Turnovers and execution are killing us, and if we get that solved it will but if we don’t, it’s going to be a long deal.
“I called three timeouts in the last minute, not because of the score but because we checked out. We can’t do that.
“We are going to continue to try to change things up, take Monday off, practice Tuesday and Wednesday and head to East Carolina.”
Suporia Dickens (35), here locked up with UAB's Kayla Anderson, gave the Herd 7 points and led Marshall with 9 rebounds in a 61-45 loss to the Blazers. (Herd Insider photo by Marcus Constantino)
Marshall out-rebounded the Blazers, 33-to-24, with Erica Woods pulling eight boards to go with her team-high 11 points, and Suporia Dickens had nine rebounds and seven points.
The Herd turned 11 offensive rebounds into a 12-6 edge in second chance points, and had a balanced scoring attack with six of eight players scoring four to 11 points in the contest, including 13 off the bench from Shay Weaver (2-of-4 from three) and seven by from Leandra King (3-of-7 from the floor).
Leandra King (21) of the Herd drives for two of her 7 points off the bench against the Blazers Michaelea Kleist, adding two rebounds and a steal in Marshall's fifth-straight loss in C-USA play. The Herd is at ECU on Thursday. (Herd Insider photo by Marcus Constantino)
Woods also had two assists and led the Herd with three steals, hitting 5-of-10 from the floor.
Marshall shot 18-of-43 (42 percent) and 33 percent from three (3-of-9) while the Blazers hit 24-of-54 (46 percent) and 4-of-13 from three (31 percent).
The Herd will travel to East Carolina for a 7 p.m. game on Thursday, then return to the Henderson Center for a 2 p.m. “Super Sunday” game with the Memphis Tigers.
Woody Woodrum is Publisher of Herd Insider, and can be reached for comments at