by Barca Blog - It’s safe to say that Merideth Marsh didn’t have her best game in Saturday’s NCAA Tournament opener. The second-team All-SEC guard finished with more turnovers (3) than points (2) in the Commodores’ 73-44 victory over Western Carolina.
Even more surprising was that Marsh missed two free throws to open the second half, ending a streak of 25 conversions in a row. She came into the game shooting at a 93.5% clip from the line.
“I wasn’t hitting my shots and things weren’t going my way,” Marsh remarked, “but as I get further on down the stretch, I’m going to do the things that the team needs me to do. The coaches kept reminded me that I’m in there to be a leader and to play solid defense and the offense will come.”
Marsh, who led the SEC in three-point shooting, understands that you can’t get caught up in one subpar night. She shrugged off a 3-for-15 performance in last year’s NCAA opener against Montana by contributing nine points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals against West Virginia to help the Commodores advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I can’t be as hard on myself,” Marsh said. “If I make a mistake, I just have to shake it off quickly and I can’t wear my emotions on my sleeve.”
Marsh will get back on the court tonight for the 'Dores showdown with No. 5 seed Kansas State. And Balcomb knows that Marsh's value looms larger than just the numbers you see on the stat sheet.
“I can't take Merideth off the court," Balcomb told the press after Saturday's win, "and that's what I talked to her about was her leadership skills. She's like having another coach on the floor, she defends very smart, very well. So, I thought she let the game come to her and she didn't try to force things and hopefully we'll get her some better looks next game."