Katy - The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's basketball team started hot but faded early as the Islanders suffered an 86-59 loss to Lamar in the Southland Conference Tournament Finals. It was the first time in school history that TAMUCC reached the finals of the tournament.
The Islanders move to 22-10 on the season while Lamar improved to 26-7 on the year. The two teams battled hard early on but the shooting of the Lady Cardinals was just too much as they earned their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament as a member of the Southland Conference.
"Give credit to Lamar, they played a great game today." said head coach Robert Robinson. "Their athleticism and speed hurt us the whole game and we couldn't get matched up with them.
"Give our kids a lot of credit too, they played hard, left it all out on the floor and hopefully they're not done playing."
Senior center Elisa Beagle led the team with her 11th double-double of the year, scoring 11 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Deziree Green and Jade Davis also scored 11 while Adrienne Scott added nine points and eight rebounds. For their efforts, Beagle and Davis were named to the all-tournament team.
"I'm going to take a lot away from this experience," said Beagle. "It shows what we can do when we put our minds to it even though we didn't finish how we wanted.
"Hopefully like coach said, we can continue on post-tournament."
In the first half, the Islanders started out strong before Lamar responded with a barrage of three pointers. Down 6-1, the Lady Cardinals hit four in-a-row to go up 13-9 at the 14:25 mark. The Lady Cardinals scored the next seven points to extend the lead to 20-9 with 11:29 left in the first half. Lamar would extend the lead to as many as 19 points in the first half before taking a 42-27 lead into the break.
In the second half, the Islanders continued to fight, at one point scoring seven straight points to cut the lead from 17 points to nine at 52-43 with 11:33 left in the game. A free throw by Beagle, a layup by Lauren Smith and four points from Myeisha Myles on a layup and two free throws got the Islanders back into the game. TAMUCC was unable to sustain the momentum as Lamar scored eight of the next 10 points to stretch the lead back to 15 points.
"When we cut it to nine points we were making baskets," said Robinson. "The rest of the game we weren't making a lot of shots."
In the end, the Islanders could never get it close enough to get back in the game, falling by an 86-59 final in a contest that gave the team its first taste of championship game experience.