Of all the (major conference) players selected to the 2013-14 Wade Watch list, Georgia Tech's Tyaunna Marshall might be the least talked about.
That's not to say diehard women's basketball fans around the web are unaware of who she is or that she may be a 2014 WNBA Draft prospect. But a quick search of the web for Marshall returns no feature stories about her, few highlight videos with her in them (which is bizarre given the existence of the ACC Digital Network), no solo photos of her from the last two years in our photo database (for whatever that's worth), and hardly any quotes to be found from opposing coaches.
There might be a number of reasons for that: Atlanta media, unfortunately, is notoriously inconsistent at covering women's basketball. When the Yellow Jackets are on the road, hometown media generally approaches a hard news recap from the local perspective. And even when Marshall does have a big game, she has been overshadowed by freshman star Kaela Davis who has been as good as advertised this season. An additional factor is probably that Marshall's game isn't all that flashy: most everything is going hard to the basket and she had just her second made three of the season in Thursday night's win against Virginia Tech.
Yet Marshall was difficult to ignore on Thursday and got about as many pixels dedicated to her as she had all season, as summarized by RamblingWreck.com.
"I think Ty put us on her back and decided that she wasn't going to lose this game," head coach MaChelle Joseph said. "She didn't have a great first half, but I thought her second half was one of the best halves I've ever seen her play. She was pretty phenomenal in the second half."
Marshall led the Yellow Jackets on offense, recording her second-career 30 point game. She scored 21 points in the second half to spark a comeback, after the Jackets headed into halftime down, 25-19. Marshall also led the Jackets on the boards, grabbing seven rebounds, and dished out a team-high five assists. This was the second time this season that Marshall has led the Jackets in points, rebounding and assists.
It is worth noting that Marc Mullen of HokieSports.com reported that Virginia Tech opted to play a box-and-one on Davis, which left Marshall an opportunity to do her damage. But that doesn't negate the fact that Marshall made the Hokies pay for their decision to focus on Davis.
Marshall's efficiency inside the arc isn't anything new this season: she has a strong 2-point percentage of 49.3%, putting her on par with draft prospects of the past. But the most impressive thing about her game is that rebounding ability.
Marshall has the odd distinction of being a 5-foot-9 guard with more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds, which is extremely uncommon by itself. But aside from the 73 offensive rebounds - which would be a career for some 5-foot-9 guards - is the extremely high rate at which she hits the offensive glass.
It's one thing to say that a player is cleaning up the boards because she plays for a team that misses a lot of shots, but that isn't quite the case with Marshall. Marshall grabs 12.49% of the rebounds available to her. To put that number in perspective, anything over 10% is pretty solid - there will be post players drafted in the first half of the 2014 WNBA Draft with offensive rebounding percentages below 12%. That Marshall is anywhere near that is a testament to her athleticism, awareness, and work rate.
And, again, she's only 5-foot-9.
This puts Marshall in a really interesting place as a 2014 WNBA Draft prospect. On the one hand, the fact that she has made just 15 threes in her entire college career makes her an extremely uncommon perimeter prospect. On the other hand, her rebounding rate makes her among the best rebounding wing prospects to come out in the last six years. She's a really unique prospect who appears to have the athleticism to make an impact at the next level
For more on draft prospects, check out our 2014 WNBA Draft prospect watch.