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Marshall Women’s Basketball Head Coach Matt Daniel is set to tip off his second season in Huntington.
How does the Marshall Women’s Basketball program rebound from a rough first year under new Head Coach Matt Daniel in 2012-2013? They bring in 10 new girls to fill the roster. A year after finishing 9-20 overall and 3-13? in Conference USA play, the Marshall Women hope to fit more into Coach Daniel’s up-tempo style of play.
“Well with 10 new faces you never know how that’s going to equate to wins and losses, but they’ve really jelled together really quickly. I really like the personality of our team and we’re not a group that takes ourselves too seriously, we’re just out here to work hard and try to have a good time and see what happens at the end of 40 minutes,” Daniel said.
Despite adding 10 new girls to the team, five girls with starting experience do return to help steady the transition. Among Daniel’s goals as the coach of The Herd is to bring in local talent. This year Daniel as added freshman Kiana Evans from Huntington, McKenzie Akers from Princeton and Talequia Hamilton—a University of Cincinnati transfer that originally hails from Huntington. Daniel thinks local talent could be the key.
“You know when you’re recruiting kids and you’re establishing who you want to be and I was just talking to President Kopp and I want to do it with kids that are local and I think that’s important that we educate the kids that are within our tri-state area and hopefully at the end of the day try to win a few ball games as well,” Daniel said.
Marshall opens the season November 8th at home against Bluefield College. The Herd plays 9 of its first 11 games at home and has 18 home days overall. Daniel thinks his group of girls will take to his philosophy of being aggressive and quick.
“Well they’re very coachable and that’s all you can ask and it’s going to be interesting to see. It can get real fun real fast or it can still be a grind, you hope for the best, but you plan for the worst, so we’re just going to go out and we’ll kind of see what’s what then and see where we go, but I’m really pleased with the effort the girls are giving,” Daniel said.
Among those returnee’s is 5th year senior forward Erica Woods. She said this group is different than last year’s team.
“I have never in all my life seen a group of young ladies come together and jell at once so quickly. Obviously still have a ways to go and there is always room for improvement and things like that, but definitely willing to want to get it right, not be right, but get things right, we’re all about us and not just one person,” Woods said.
Not only is the team changing, but the conference the women play in is changing quickly. With 8 new schools, some of which have had previous national success, play could be tougher than it’s ever been. Woods said with the addition of all the new girls they can play the style that Coach Daniel wants.
“We just have girls that are ready to get after it day-in and day-out and everybody seems to be buying into Coach Daniel’s concept and like I said in practice everything is full speed. And if we don’t go full speed, we run and nobody wants to run, so we just try to do as he says and get in and get out,” Woods said.
Among the newcomers is transfer Talequia Hamilton, who said her transfer back home from Cincinnati was about playing in front of the people she cares about.
“I missed home, I really did. Of the two years I was there I wasn’t
really sure that my heart was in it, but I knew back home that I would get to play in front of my friends and my family, so I’m going to put my all into it,” Hamilton said.
Daniel hopes that home mentality for the local girls can be one of the keys to resurgence.