Women's Basketball Tips-off Season Opener Sunday

GAME NOTES

BELMONT (0-1) AT TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (0-0)

Sunday, Nov. 11 • 2 p.m. CT
American Bank Center (8,100) • Corpus Christi, Texas
LIVE VIDEO | LIVE STATS


THE OPENING TIP

The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team will tipoff its 2012-13 season Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. against Belmont at the American Bank Center. Royce Chadwick will begin his Islander career in his first 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. One week ago today, the Islanders cruised past Texas Lutheran 83-43 in its lone exhibition of the season.

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 Bruins are coming off an 82-76 road loss to Texas State in their opening game on Friday. They finished the 2011-12 season 12-18. 

QUICK HITS

•The Islanders cruised to a 40-point victory in its lone exhibition, shooting 46 percent from the field.

Alisa Roberts, Ashley Darley, Jessica Jammer paced the Islanders in double-figure scoring.

•14 of the Islanders' 15 player roster scored in the victory.

•The Islanders received 51 points from the bench and outrebounded Texas Lutheran 46-35.

• Verne'qua 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.

• 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 BRUINS

Belmont dropped their opening game to Texas State on Friday, 82-76. The Bruins shot 42.7 percent from the field and had four players score in double figures.

The Bruins return four leading scorers from a team that finished 12-18 overall last season.

Belmont holds the 4-2 all-time series advantage over the Islanders.

PRESEASON PICKS

The Islanders were picked to finish eighth in the Southland Conference Coaches' Poll after finishing with a 5-11 conference record last season.

FRESH FACES

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.

In the exhibition, Plummer led the newcomers with nine points on 3-of-12 shooting from the field. Plummer and Schwartz both pulled down five rebounds apiece.

RETURNERS

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, Jessica 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 exhibition, Darley tallied 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting and recorded six steals, five rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes. She also went a perfect 4-for-4 from the line.

The Islanders also return guards Imani Dunn, Taryn Gregory, Trish Amboree, Marquesha Anderson-Sparks, Sarah Alva and Roberts, along with forwards Brandi Huff and Damequia Montgomery.

COACHING DEBUTS

Royce 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 and enters his 11th season on the Islanders' staff as an assistant coach.                                  

LOADED SCHEDULE

 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 at 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.

NEXT UP

The Islanders will trek to Edinburg, Texas, to face Texas - Pan American in their first road game of the season on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m.