Saturday, January 28, 2023

Blue Raiders Blast Marshall, Insell Notches 200th Win in Murphy


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Story by Britton Barnette / Contributing Writer

Coach Insell notches 200th career victory at the Murphy Center as the Blue Raiders trample the Herd, 80-41.  

Kseniya Malashka led the Blue Raiders in scoring and rebounding with 22 points and seven boards, while Anastasiia Blodyreva set a career high of 17 points herself.  

Marshall guard Savannah Wheeler led her team with 15 points, and was the only Marshall player to score in double digits on the night.  

Rick Insell has coached the Blue Raiders for 16 seasons, and his 200th win at the Murphy Center is a fantastic accomplishment, but when asked about it, he says he wants to focus on basketball. 

“I’m proud of that, and all the players who took part in that and the coaches who helped me. I came down here to win basketball games, but playing great basketball is what it’s all about.”  

And that’s exactly what the team put on display Thursday night.  

After a competitive start in the first quarter, Boldyreva and Marshall guard Aalyiah Dunham traded baskets, with Dunham finishing the quarter with five of her team’s 11 points. Marshall pulled ahead early on the free throw line by making all six of their attempts, while the Blue Raiders didn’t get to the line at all. A great inbounds pass from Courtney Whitson to set up a Dor Sarr three tied it at 11, and that was the final time the Blue Raiders were behind. Kseniya Malshka scored six points and Anastasiia Boldyreva scored four in each of their five-minute stints during the period as they found a way to use their size to overpower Marshall and end the quarter ahead 18-11.  

“I’m just real proud of our basketball team,” said Coach Insell after the game. “I think the big difference was post presence. You had a post presence with Anastasiia and Kseniya. And they were making great passes inside and out, and we were knocking down shots. When we do that, we can play with anybody.” 

The second quarter was all Blue Raiders. After a quiet first period, Alexis Whittington started the quarter by contributing back-to-back three-point shots, and then ripping the ball from Marshall guard Savannah Wheeler to set up Dor Sarr for a layup. This started a 19-point run to give the Blue Raiders a cushion they would never relinquish. Anastasiia Boldyreva continued her post dominance by adding seven points and an assist to her total, and leading the Blue Raiders to a 39-26 lead at half.  

A Malashka post shot, and a Courtney Whitson three-pointer started the second half on a 5-0 run to continue the dominance that lasted the remainder of the game to finish 80-41. 

Marshall was missing starting guard Brianah Ferby, who is their third leading scorer. While the Blue Raiders were able to have Jaelynn Gregory back in the lineup after she missed the last game. 

“Marshall’s a good team,” said Insell. “They came in here six and one, and they’ve already had some big wins. We still gotta go to Marshall.”  

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