By Rebecca Charur/Staff Writer
FIU is set to play Marshall’s Thundering Herd in one of the more challenging Conference USA games of the season; nevertheless, a hard-earned win would be just what the doctor ordered for a struggling Panthers team.
After suffering a difficult loss to UAB, the Panthers are looking to rebound Thursday night with a win. However, the win would have to come against an experienced team in Marshall. Their twelve (wo)man roster consists of four seniors, three juniors, and five sophomores. This is in stark contrast to FIU’s young and inexperienced core that has struggled through the season.
The four seniors leading the way for the Thundering Herd are guard/forward Leah Scott, guard AJ Johnson, guard/forward Aja Sorrells, and center Chukwuka Ezeigbo. AJ Johnson, in particular, plays an important role in setting the tempo for Marshall’s offense with her efficient scoring and serving as a threat from behind she arc. During the 2013-2014 season, Johnson lead the team in three-point and free-throw percentages while also recording the sixth-most three pointers in a single season at Marshall. She further holds the record for the most three-pointers made per game.
This hot shooting is something FIU has to keep an close eye on as they struggled defending UAB’s perimeter shooting in their last outing.
In addition to experience, Marshall also has a slight height advantage with five of their players measuring six feet or above. Both centers, however, match up evenly standing at 6’3, which creates an interesting match-up to watch for in the paint. This match-up between Marita Davydova and Chukwuka Ezeigbo will prove significant as both players play a major role on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
Marshall enters the contest with an overall record of 9-5 and a dangerous home record of 4-1. Still, the silver lining for FIU is that they are 1-2 in Conference USA play, losing against Western Kentucky and Charlotte by double digits. Sure, the Panthers are not playing well either against Conference USA opponents but they look to finally get their first conference win against a vulnerable team coming off of a tough loss. A win could improve FIU to a record of 4-11 and break their three game losing streak.
The Thundering Herd are yet to lose consecutive games this season.