Panthers look to finish season strong after Rice loss

Giancarlo Navas/ Staff Writer

Up in a skybox overlooking the Lime Court at FIU stadium, it’s all smiles for FIU women’s basketball coach Marlin Chinn. His team may have lost to Rice 62 to 68, but you wouldn’t be able to tell. A positivity radiated from the first year head coach that is uncommon for the leader of a team that is 4-22.

“I want to make sure that we load the girls up with a ton of enthusiasm and energy, we just ask them to play hard,” said Chinn. “This was a real positive for us.”

Taylor Shade and the Offense

Despite the loss, the Panthers had stretches of the game where they looked very good. Playing with senior Taylor Shade, junior Nikolina Todorovic and senior Brianna Wright, FIU went on a run to bring them back from down double digits. That rag-tag group of bench players coupled with Shade’s playmaking sparked something interesting from FIU. Shade’s ability to run the offense is perhaps best on the team especially in the pick and roll game.

“She gets a lot of good shots. She got going late for us, she can penetrate, she can kick or get to a pull up,” Chinn said. “She has gotten good at that.”

Despite Shade being arguably their best offensive player, freshman point guard Kristian Hudson does a lot of the offense initiating. With Shade being a senior it’s understand that Chinn would want to groom his young point guard.

Hudson’s Struggles

What Hudson was greeted to was a plethora of traps off pick and rolls and full court presses. She struggled with the ball and getting into offensive sets, however this isn’t something new. Hudson averages more turnovers (4.4) than assists (4.1) on the year and her inexperience has shown. Chinn however, believes in her growth.

“That’s just being a freshman, trying to learn the speed the game. She is playing against juniors and seniors and she’s learning. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of a season for her,” said Chinn. “I do tell everyone that she is going to be an unbelievable coach when she finishes playing. Her IQ is so high. She is always thinking the game. She is going to be really really good when she gets into next season.”


What Chinn has been consistent about since day  one of his coaching tenure at FIU is the want to play quickly. He believes in fast paced offenses and has been unable to play his style because of FIU’s lack of depth.

“We are not as deep as we want to be,” said Chinn. “Earlier in the season we played five or six girls, so we couldn’t sustain playing like that in the third and fourth quarter. But we will get there.”

The offense Marlin Chinn envisions is something closer to what Rice had than FIU. Rice would push the pace and run out after getting a rebound, their point guard Maya Hawkins would run at breakneck speeds up and down the floor.

As the season starts to wind down Chinn remains positive. Up top in a skybox talking to the media he smiles and laugh, even though they lost at home. He remains entrenched in his positivity; he believes that better times are soon.

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