THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team opens its 2012-13 season Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. against Texas Lutheran in an exhibition at the American Bank Center. Royce Chadwick will begin his Islander career in his debut game as the Islanders' head coach. Chadwick, who spent the previous 11 years at the helm of the Marshall University program, has 561 wins on his collegiate coaching resume.
The Islanders return 10 letterwinners and will feature five newcomers, three freshmen and two transfers. The Islanders finished the 2011-12 with a 9-20 record and 5-11 in the conference. Leading the Islanders is returning point guard Verne'qua Taylor. Last season, Taylor led the conference with 4.9 assists per game and tallied a total of 141 on the season. The Islanders will also look to senior guard Jessica Jammer who averaged 8.0 points per game. Along with Taylor and Jammer the Islanders are anticipating the return of guard Ashley Darley, who sat out last season with a medical redshirt.
The Bulldogs finished the 2011-12 season with a 7-18 record and 6-15 in the American Southwest Conference.
Sunday's game will mark the first meeting between the two schools.
• Taylor dished out 141 assists in 2011-12 which set the Islanders' all-time assist record as a junior. She led the Southland Conference in assist average with 4.9 per game.
• Alisa Roberts was No. 11 in the Southland Conference in three-point percent shooting .323.
• Chadwick has a career record of 561-302 (.650) in stops at Marshall, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State, Oklahoma Panhandle State and Howard Junior College.
• In 20 years at the Division I level, Chadwick holds a 365-237 (.606) record and seven NCAA Tournament appearances.
• Associate Head Coach Roxanne White won two high school state championships and has been to 12 NCAA conference tournaments as a player and coach.
• Three out of the five newcomers come to the Island University from out-of-state. Freshman Janae Blount is from Washington, D.C., freshman Ashanti Plummer is from Manhattan, N.Y. and sophomore transfer Janae Lyde is originally from Albany, N.Y.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
After posting a 7-18 record during the 2011-12 season, including a 6-15 conference mark in the American Southwest, the Bulldogs have been picked to finish fifth in the seven-team west division.
Texas Lutheran has 10 returning players, including three starters.
The Islanders were picked to finish eighth in the Southland Conference Coaches' Poll after finishing with a 5-11 conference record last season.
Chadwick will look to five newcomers, three posts and two guards. Freshman guard Janae Blount will add a presence after averaging 10.2 points per game at Howard D. Woodson High School in Washington, D.C. Freshman post Ashanti Plummer will add some inside presence that will be missing from graduated senior Myeisha Myles. Plummer averaged 18.1 points per game during her senior season while pulling down 13.6 rebounds. Freshman Zenobia Winbush and junior transfer Morgan Schwartz will also add height to the Islanders roster. Winbush led her team in scoring and rebounding during her senior season at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas. Schwartz transferred from Midland CC where she played two seasons under head coach Ron Jones. Rounding out the newcomers is Janae Lyde who is a sophomore transfer from Texas Southern.
The Islanders return 10 letterwinners from last seasons' team. Leading returners include Taylor, who led the conference with 4.9 assists per game and tallied a total of 141 on the season, Jammer, who averaged 8.0 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game while registering 25 blocks in 21.2 minutes. Along with Taylor and Jammer the Islanders are anticipating the return of Darley who sat out last season with a medical redshirt. During the 2010-11 season, Darley started 26 out of 29 games and collected 125 rebounds, including 76 defensive boards. She led the team overall with 68 steals and averaged 8.9 points a game. The Islanders are return guards Imani Dunn, Taryn Gregory, Trish Amboree, Marquesha Anderson-Sparks,Sarah Alva and Roberts, along with forwards Brandi Huff and Damequia Montgomery.
Chadwick will be the fourth coach in Islanders history to make his debut on the sidelines. He holds 561 wins on his collegiate coaching resume and seven NCAA Tournament bids. Chadwick is familiar with the Southland Conference after coaching stints at Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State. He holds a .829 career winning percentage in Southland Conference games. Chadwick was named the Southland Coach of the Year in 1997. He has 28 years of experience coaching women's college basketball and four career wins in the NCAA Tournament.
Roxanne White will join Chadwick on the sidelines as the Islanders' Associate Head Coach. White served on Chadwick's staffs at Marshall and Stephen F. Austin. White was Marshall's recruiting coordinator for all 11 years she was at the school and was the associate head coach for 10 of those seasons. The Stephen F. Austin alumna was an assistant for Chadwick for five years at SFA and also spent a year with Texas A&M.
Darren Brunson also makes his Islanders' coaching career debut as the Islanders' Assistant Coach. Brunson comes to the Island University after spending the past three years as the associate head coach and team's recruiting coordinator at Texas Southern.
Geoff Grawn will join the three of them on the sidelines as he enters his 11th season on the Islanders' staff as an assistant coach.
The Islanders have a very challenging non-conference slate, including five opponents from BCS conference schools. The Islanders will start the season against the likes of Belmont and Indiana before traveling to Boulder, Colo., for a two-day tournament at the University of Colorado. The Islanders will also face Big 12 opponent Texas in Austin. The Longhorns advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, and this season's game will mark four years since the two teams faced each other in Austin in 2008. Three games are scheduled for December with the Islanders welcoming former Southland rival Texas State and Ivy League opponent Cornell. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi will wrap the non-conference schedule in Ft. Worth against TCU before the start of the Southland Conference.
The Islanders will tip-off the regular season on Sunday, Nov. 11, against Belmont at 2 p.m. at the American Center. For tickets, call 825-BALL or visit GoIslanders.com.