Lady Owls notch third straight victory
CAMERON -- Marshall head girls' basketball coach Jeff Martin saw his young team "take a big step towards maturity" Saturday during a 52-43 non-conference victory at Cameron.
After a sluggish start, the Lady Owls turned up the defensive pressure during the second half, closing with a 27-8 run after trailing by seven points at halftime to win the third straight of five closely-contested games in a row.
"We didn't start out very well," Martin admitted. "Being out of our routine and then with the long bus ride, we were very lethargic."
Marshall woke up, though, thanks to a couple of varsity newcomers: sophomore Andi Adcock and freshman Nicki Erickson. After senior Ashley Boland's three-pointer cut the deficit to one point midway through the third quarter, the Lady Dragons pushed their advantage back to seven before Adcock ended the period with a steal and two goals.
Senior Katie Crawford crashed the offensive boards for a deuce to start the final frame. Then Erickson, who came off the bench to record five steals -- among the 30 turnovers committed by Cameron -- knocked down a perimeter jumper with 5:50 left in the game to put the Lady Owls ahead for the first time.
"They gave us the energy we hadn't had," Martin praised his rookie guards. "I can't say enough about what they did for us."
Marshall, nursing a three-point lead during with three minutes left, ran 40 seconds off the clock before finding senior Ashley Fann for an open shot -- then made a defensive stop. The Owls were able to coast home the rest of the way.
The Lady Dragons (1-4) were led by senior Brittany Neely's 10 points and six rebounds, but were beaten on the glass by a 26-21 margin -- including MHS' 14 offensive boards. That helped the Lady Owls shoot a respectable 46.7 percent from the field, with senior Brandal Jones notching eight points.
Fann scored 18 of her game-high 22 points during the second half, including 11 in the fourth quarter. It marked the fourth consecutive game in which Fann has cracked the 20-point mark.
"She's working harder when she's covered well," Martin explained. "She's really getting her opportunities, especially at the free-throw line."
Marshall (4-3), which has held six of seven opponents to 50 points or fewer, hosts Boonville on Friday.