A new season of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's basketball is set for what shapes up to be a veteran team and will feature several prominent teams, including three teams that made it to the NCAA Tournament and one from the Women's NIT. The Islanders host six homes games before the start of the Southland Conference schedule and will have 14 total home games this season.
"Last year was extremely tough on us with traveling all the time," said head coach Robert Robinson. "We want to have as many home games as possible in front of home crowd."
The 2009 women's basketball team will begin the season by hosting the Islander Tip-off Tournament at the American Bank Center on Nov. 13 and 14 with doubleheaders each evening beginning at 5 p.m. The Islanders will play host to Alabama, Air Force and Tennessee Tech in the two day event with matchups yet to be decided.
After opening at home, the Islanders go on the road to play at Texas Southern on Nov. 21 before heading to the Lady Eagle Thanksgiving Classic, hosted by Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss. on Nov. 27 and 28. The first game of the tournament pits the women against Georgia of the SEC, a 2009 NCAA Tournament participant. The second game is dependent on the outcome of the first, with the winner playing the winner of Southern Miss versus Jackson State in the championship game with the other two teams consolation game against the loser of JSU/USM.
TAMUCC follows that tournament up with a visit to Colorado Springs, Colo. for the Air Force Classic where they will take on Drake on Dec.4 and Chicago State on Dec. 5. The Islanders return home on Dec. 13 to play host to Incarnate Word on a Sunday following the completion of exams.
Following a trip to Edinburg to face Texas-Pan American on Dec. 19, they return home to host a pair of high profile opponents in the American Bank Center. On Monday, Dec. 28, they take on Houston at home for just the second time in school history. Two days later, the Islanders host Colorado State on Dec. 30 in the first meeting ever between the two teams.
"With Alabama, Houston and Colorado State coming in, it gives us three really quality teams coming to the ABC this year," said Robinson. "Its good for our fans because they want to see us compete against the bigger name schools and it provides for a good college basketball atmosphere."
The final two non-conference contests come on Jan. 2 and 6 as the Islanders travel to NCAA Tournament participant TCU on Jan. 2 in Forth Worth then come back home to host UTPA on Jan. 6.
"Overall, our non-conference schedule is very challenging," said Robinson. "We are going to play a lot of good teams which is only going to make us better for the conference."
A&M-Corpus Christi opens the Southland Conference schedule at home this season, taking on Central Arkansas on Jan. 9 and Texas State on Jan. 13. They last opened the conference season with two home games during the 2006-07 year.
"We want to get off to a good conference start," said Robinson. "Having the first two SLC games at home should be advantageous for us to get started quickly."
The Islanders travel to Natchitoches, La. to play Northwestern State on Jan. 16 and then to Beaumont to take on Lamar on Jan. 20. TAMUCC returns home for one game against the Southland's NCAA representative from last season, UTSA, on Jan. 23 before finishing the month of January on the 30th at Sam Houston State.
A&M-Corpus Christi starts the month of February off against UT Arlington at the ABC on Feb. 3. UT Arlington qualified for the Women's NIT last season as the regular season conference champion. The Islanders hit the road for a pair of games, starting off on Feb. 6 at Nicholls in Thibodaux, La. before traveling to San Marcos four days later against Texas State on Feb. 10.
The Islanders then host four of their final seven conference games to end the season starting with Sam Houston State at Stripes Court on Feb. 13. They then travel to UTSA on Feb. 17 and host McNeese State on Feb. 20. A pair of road games bookend the final two home games as the Islanders travel to Southeastern Louisiana on Feb. 24 then return home to host Stephen F. Austin on Feb. 27 and Lamar on Mar. 3. The final game of the season comes on the road in the metroplex as the Islanders travel to UT Arlington to end the year.
The 2009-10 season for the Islanders comes with higher expectations from last season as they return all but one starter and get the services of Elisa Beagle back after Beagle missed last year with an injury. Several younger players return with key experience as the Islanders battled through several season-ending injuries last year while still qualifying for the SLC Tournament for the third-straight year. The tough schedule and the returning players have the Islanders in good position to make a big impact in the conference standings this season.
"Since we have an upper classmen team, it should be a good experience for them," said Robinson. "Both in getting ready for SLC play and to help put us in good situations to have success throughout the year."