The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team capped off the 2011 spring signing period with the addition of four new junior college players to the roster.
Guards Verne'qua Taylor, Alisa Roberts and Marquesha Anderson-Sparks will go along with the inside presence of Damequia Montgomery as the Islanders look to rebound from the 2010-11 season.
Taylor is a 5'5" guard from Wharton who will run the point for the Islanders in the upcoming season. One of the biggest needs for the team will be filled by her as she will run the offense next year. She is a Blinn College transfer that helped her team to an 18-12 record last year and was an NJCAA Women's All-Region XIV team member as well as the winner of the Don Wilhelm MVP Award as the top player on her team. Taylor averaged 9.5 points and 2.4 steals a game while dishing out 6.1 assists a night, good for sixth in the NJCAA national rankings.
"Verne'qua is the definition of a true point guard," said head coach Robert Robinson. "She does a great job of pushing the ball up the floor, controlling tempo and getting people in the offense.
"Some of those things we really missed last year, she will be able to do good job for us this year. She is a definite true point guard with a lot of experience coming in from the JUCO level."
Roberts is a 5'7" player from Philadelphia, Pa. who will play both guard positions for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi while mostly seeing action at the two guard spot. She played at Harcum College and averaged 12.6 points per game and 5.7 rebounds every time out. She also added 3.3 assists and 3.6 steals a game last season. Robert helped her team to a 29-3 record overall and a 17-1 record to win the Region 19 Championship.
"Alisa Roberts is more of a combo guard that probably excels more at the two," said Robinson. "She is a great three-point shooter that has a really nice jump shot and a scorer's mentality.
"She is a great defender as well, very athletic. Just fits our system really well."
Anderson-Sparks is also a 5'7" player from San Antonio who will play both guard and small forward for the Islanders. She is also a Blinn transfer who will have three years with the team after coming to the Island after her freshman year. She helped the Buccaneers to an 18-13 mark while scoring 8.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game while adding 1.3 assists and 1.1 steals a night.
"Marquesha is a strong guard that is a more of a two/three type player who is very athletic as well," said Robinson. "We kind of have an advantage with her being a freshman coming out of junior college so she'll have three years left with us.
"She is also another great spot-up three point shooter. That is probably one of her biggest strengths, the ability to shoot the open three. We didn't have a lot of kids that could hit three-point shots. She has the ability to spread the floor, which was another thing we really didn't have last year."
Montgomery is a 5'10" player out of Baytown that will help fill the spot voided by departing seniors Anitra Jeffery and Adrienne Scott. At Grayson County College, she helped her team to a 34-4 record while winning conference and region championships. She averaged 3.1 points and 4.3 rebounds a game last season. She was a first team all-conference pick following the 2009-10 season.
"She is an athletic four player that kind of reminds me of a lot of Anitra," said Robinson. "She can run the floor very well, can rebound and has the ability to score.
"Damequia will make hustle plays out on the floor and is very athletic. She is another one of those type of kids that fits our system well with her having the ability to shoot the 15-foot jump shot as well as take people off the dribble."
In addition to the four JUCO signees, the Islanders signed two players out of high school in the early signing period this past fall. Trisha Amboree and Mariah Jordan will also join the roster this fall as new members of the team.
Jordan is a 6'1" post player from Bowman Academy in Gary, Ind. that was a force on the inside for her team. During her junior year she averaged 11.6 points, 5.2 assists and 22 rebounds per game.
"We're excited about the two freshmen we signed in the early period," said Robinson. "Mariah is another strong, physical kid and a great rebounder.
"She could possibly be a really good defender just from watching her in high school. She does a lot of good things well and is very smart, heady player at the post position."
Amboree comes from Brazoswood High School and is from Lake Jackson. The 5'8" combo guard averaged 8.3 points, 1.1 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game as a senior. For her efforts, she was named First Team All-District 24-5A following the season.
"The guard we got out of Houston is another combo-type guard that can play the one or the two equally as well and is another really good three-point shooter," said Robinson. "We really addressed some issues with these kids that we were missing last year.
"The number one priority is having kids shoot the three and nail the three. That allows us to be able to spread the floor and let our post players isolate one-on-one. The thing we really got better at is having a true point guard that can get us into an offense, run it and handle the ball to help limit turnovers."