Female Athlete of the Year: Basketball’s Nia Marshall
As Nia Marshall wrapped up her illustrious career with Cornell women’s basketball this season, she also cemented herself as the most successful player in program history.
The forward finished her career as the Red’s all-time leading scorer with 1,685 points, surpassing the 1,650 point mark previously set by Karen Walker ’91. Marshall also played a major role to the Red’s day-to-day success by averaging 15.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals on the season to lead her team to a 16-11 overall record — its highest win total since the 2007-08 season.
“When you break that type of record, you’re doing that on a night-in and night-out basis, so the consistency of her ability to lead us in that category says a lot about who she is as an athlete,” head coach Dayna Smith previously said about Marshall’s scoring title.
Entering her freshman year in Ithaca having led Hathaway Brown School to three consecutive high school Division II state championships, Marshall made an immediate impact on the Red. In a breakout rookie campaign, the forward started all but one game, and ranked second for Cornell in scoring with 12.6 points per game.
After her stellar first season, Marshall took full control of the reins during her sophomore year. Marshall led the Red with 16.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals while shooting 45 percent from the field. She also recorded 30 points three times during the season, becoming the first to do so since Do Stevens ’02 in 2001.
Marshall continued her dominance in her junior year, as she led the Ivy League in scoring with 16.6 points per game. With a 31-point game against Binghamton, she beat the mark she set the year prior and became the only player in program history to record 30 points four times. She also became the second fastest player to reach 1,000 points.
And as expected, the forward once again delivered in her senior year. In addition to leading the Red in scoring for a third consecutive season, Marshall recorded three double-doubles this past season, with an additional six games where she finished just one rebound shy of a double-double. Marshall’s title-securing game came in a win over Princeton, where the forward scored 12 points.
“We also knew it was an important game for Nia, as she had a very high chance of breaking the all-time scoring record in the game against Princeton,” said senior Kerri Moran following the game. “We wanted to make the game memorable for Nia and wanted her to remember that moment as a win not just for herself, but for the whole team.”
Marshall’s diversity in her game is clearly shown as she becomes the first player to record at least 1,300 points, 500 rebounds, 100 assists, 100 steals and 50 blocked shots in Cornell history. And to add to her record scoring, the forward has also finished among the Red’s leaders in several other categories: career scoring average (second), field goals made (second), field goal percentage (seventh), rebounds (fifth), rebounding average (ninth), defensive rebounds (third), offensive rebounds (fifth), steals (second), blocked shots (fourth), games played (third) and minutes played (third).
“[Marshall is] obviously very talented and a versatile player that’s able to score in different ways,” Smith said.
In addition to the scoring title, Marshall caps off her career with one All-ECAC second team selection, two first-team All-Ivy selections, as well as a second-team All-Ivy selection while becoming the first player in program history to earn Player of the Week honors at least 10 times.
Needless to say, Marshall has left quite a long-lasting legacy.