Coach Kemper wants Herd women ‘consistent, tough, fighters’
HUNTINGTON - Marshall University women’s basketball coach Tony Kemper did not pull any punches last week after his team collapsed in a home loss to Towson University.
Kemper said the Thundering Herd had to be tougher mentally and physically down the stretch of games to prepare for play in Conference USA, which begins next week.
The final non-conference opportunity for Marshall (5-7) to get things right prior to C-USA play comes at 1 p.m. Saturday when Delaware State (2-7) visits Cam Henderson Center.
Following Saturday’s matchup, Marshall stays in town to play conference games Thursday against Old Dominion and Saturday, Jan. 5, against Charlotte.
“We should be a good basketball team, but (there’s) no margin for error,” Kemper said. “We need to be consistent, we need to be pretty tough, we need to be fighters, we need to play together. Then it’s a good basketball team.”
Marshall led Towson by 14 in the second half and had a five-point lead late in the fourth quarter, but squandered opportunities led to a disappointing defeat. Kemper focused on the little things - working within the offense, communicating on defense - as areas needing improvement following last week’s loss.
“It really comes down to how tuned in they are, possession by possession,” Kemper said.
After being away for a few days on a Christmas break, the team focused on correcting mistakes, which included developing mental toughness in adverse situations.
Marshall’s scoring leader is senior guard Shayna Gore from Logan, West Virginia, averaging 18.6 per game. Taylor Porter from Louisa, Kentucky, follows at 11.1 a game. Kristen Mayo of Grayson, Kentucky, is a sophomore averaging 9.4 points. Juniors Khadaijia Brooks and Ashley Saintigene score 7.5 and 7.4 per game respectively.
The Herd leads C-USA teams in steals per game (9.83) and blocked shots per game (5.42).
Delaware State has dropped three straight games at Xavier, Cornell and Robert Morris.
NaJai Pollard of the Hornets averages 23.7 points and 9.8 rebounds. Pollard, a senior from Richmond, Virginia, is fifth in school history with 1,561 points and fourth with 834 rebounds.
Lanayjha Ashe provides 12.7 points and Keke Barber is next with 8.4.
The Hornets are a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference member from Dover, Delaware.
Delaware State (2-7) at Marshall (5-7)
1 p.m., Saturday, Cam Henderson Center, Huntington
Radio: WMUL 88.1-FM
Tickets: $5 adults, $3 children