Islanders Clip Owls 64-61 to Open Rice Tournament

HOUSTON – Junior Jessica Jammer's go ahead jumper with 2:21 to play and Alisa Robert's two free throws in the winding seconds gave the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team (3-5) the 64-61 clinching win over Rice University (4-4) in the Gene Hackerman Rice Invitational Friday in Houston. The Islanders have advanced to the championship game tomorrow to face North Texas at 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse.  

The Islanders were powered by three juniors in double digits. Alisa Roberts posted a season high 14 points and tied a season high four steals in her first start of the season. Verne'qua Taylor tallied 11 points and pulled down a season high nine rebounds and dished out four assists in 35 minutes. Jessica Jammer recorded her sixth double digit scoring effort with 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Jammer grabbed six rebounds and tallied four assists, two blocks and two steals in 29 minutes of play.

The Islanders had a balanced attack from junior Damequia Montgomery who joined Taylor on the glass with a game-high nine rebounds and eight points while chipping in two steals. Senior Myeisha Myles tallied eight points and nine rebounds while shooting 3-for-4 from behind the line.      

In a game that featured five ties and 14 lead changes, the Islanders came back in the second half after trailing by six points at the half. The Islanders shot 42.4 percent from the field (25-59), 16.7 percent from behind the arc (2-12) and 50.0 percent from the charity stripe (12-24). The Islanders edged the Owls on the glass by two rebounds and scored 38 points in the paint to the Owls 22 with 12 of those being fast break points.

Jessica Goswitz and Opal Taskila paced the Owls with 12 points apiece. Amenemope McKinney grabbed eight boards and D'Frantz Smart registered a game-high eight steals.

In the second half, the Islanders' offense came alive. Roberts' and Myles' jumpers brought the Islanders within five with 17:32 to play. The Islanders answered with a 5-0 run that started with a layup from Montgomery off a dish from Taylor. The Islanders cut the Owl's lead to two, 46-44, with a made free throw by Montgomery and a fast break layup by Jammer from Taylor. The Islanders and Owls traded buckets back-and-forth until sophomore Zoe Vega-Vega evened the score to 50 with a layup.

The Islanders captured their first lead since the 10:09 mark in the first half with a made free throw by sophomore Anderson-Sparks with 11 minutes to play. The two teams traded leads back-and-forth until Rice garnered the lead with 5:47 to play off a 3-pointer by Goswitz. Roberts' made free throw cut the Owl's lead to one with 5:13 to play.

The Islanders and Owls went three minutes without a basket until Jammer knocked in a jumper to give the Islanders the lead for good with 2:21 to play. Robert's free throws sealed the 64-61 lead with 4.4 seconds.  

The Islanders trailed 41-35 at the half on 44.8 percent shooting. Roberts and Taylor led the team with seven points apiece and Montgomery led the glass with six rebounds. Hypolite and Taskila led the Owls with nine points apiece at the half. Rice turned the Islanders 19 first half turnovers into 26 points including 23 points from their bench.

In the first half, the Islanders went on a 12-0, jumpstarted by Myles' two free throws to take an 8-7 lead. A steal by Roberts and layup in the paint and a free throw by Montgomery gave the Islanders a four point lead. Jammer's layup from Taylor pushed the Islanders lead to six. A layup by Myles off freshman's Trish Amboree's steal gave the Islanders their biggest lead 15-7. Amboree capped the 12-0 run with a 3-pointer from Taylor.

The Owls answered with a 12-0 of their own that started with Megan Shafer's 3-pointer and layup. Taskila added two free throws, Candace Ashford chipped in a jumper and Goswitz ended the 12-0 run with a 3-pointer to give the Owls a 19-18 lead.  

The Islanders will face North Texas at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the championship game of the Gene Hackerman Rice Invitational. North Texas topped Oregon State 60-53 in the first game of the tournament.

Coach Robinson on the win: