THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team remains on the road to take on Lamar in Beaumont, Texas in Southland Conference action on Saturday, Jan. 12. The Islanders are looking for its first conference victory of the season while Lamar is coming off a two-point home loss to Sam Houston State on Thursday. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is coming off a 68-39 road loss to defending Southland Conference champion McNeese State on Thursday.
Saturday's game will mark the 16th meeting between the two teams. The Islanders have the 8-7 series advantage. Last season, Lamar sealed a 63-49 victory in Beaumont. The Islanders are 4-3 when playing at the Montagne Center.
Head Coach Royce Chadwick is in his first year as the Islanders' Head Coach. Chadwick, who spent the previous 11 years at the helm of the Marshall University program, has 562 wins on his collegiate coaching resume. Chadwick is looking for his first SLC victory since winning the SLC title with SFA in 2001.
Lamar enters Saturday's game with a 10-4 record, including a 3-1 record in SLC play while the Islanders are 1-13 and 0-3 in the SLC.
• Senior Jessica Jammer paced the Islanders with nine points and tied a team-high seven rebounds on Thursday at McNeese State. Prior to that, she registered four straight double-figure scoring games.
•The Islanders out rebounded the Cowgirls' 43-38 and tallied 11 second-chance points to the Cowgirls' four.
•The Islanders are 4-3 in the Montagne Center with the last victory coming in 2009, when the Islanders won 71-55. Prior to that, the team notched a 69-67 overtime victory in 2008.
•Texas A&M - Corpus Christi's first victory of the season came before the holiday break on Dec. 18 vs. Cornell, 52-49. The team snapped a 10-game losing streak dating back to the last season and marked Coach Chadwick's first victory at the helm.
•Blount leads the team with 9.6 points per game, which ranks 17th in the Southland Conference.
•Coach Chadwick has used five different starting lineups this season. On Monday, he used the starting lineup of Brandi Huff, Ashley Darley, Janae Blount, Jessica Jammer and Verne'qua Taylor for the second time this season.
•Chadwick was named the Southland Coach of the Year in 1997.
SCOUTING THE LADY CARDINALS
The Lady Cardinals and Islanders will meet for the 16th time in program history. The Islanders lead the all-time series 8-7.
Last season, Lamar topped the Islanders 63-49 in Beaumont, Texas. Jessica Jammer collected her second back-to-back 13-point scoring game to lead the Islanders, but Lamar powered its way to seal the team's fifth consecutive victory. The Islanders were paced by Jammer's 13 points and five rebounds and Verne'qua Taylor collected eight points and five assists while tallying three steals. The Lady Cardinals claimed their 200th victory at the Montagne Center,
Lamar has won three of its last four games. The Lady Cardinals are coming off 59-57 home loss to Sam Houston State on Thursday. Prior to that, the team sealed a 58-49 home victory to Southeastern La. Lamar has Southland Conference victories against Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin, both coming on the road. The Lady Cardinals also have victories against Houston Baptist, Northwood, Our Lady of the Lake, ULM, Ole Miss, Centenary and UT Tyler.
Lamar is averaging 67.6 points per game behind Kalis Loyd's 18.6 points per game and Carenn Baylor's 8.4 points per game. Loyd also leads the boards with 6.9 rebounds per game.
The Islanders were picked to finish eighth in the Southland Conference Coaches' Poll after finishing with a 5-11 conference record last season.
Jessica Jammer has powered the Islanders' offense in the last five games. She is second in scoring with 8.0 per game (30th SLC) and has registered five double-figure scoring games this season. She leads the team with 5.8 rebounds per game, which is good for a tie for 16th in the SLC.
BE BLUNT ABOUT IT
Freshman guard Janae Blount is leading the Islanders with 9.6 points per game which is good for 17th in the SLC in scoring. She has scored in double figures in seven of the 14 games this season and has made starts in nine of the 14. The Washington, D.C. native scored a career-high 21 points vs. Auburn and tied her career-high four three-pointers at the 26th Annual Omni Hotels Classic in Boulder, Colo. to earn a spot on the All-Tournament team.
Ashley Darley has made starts in 10 of the 13 Islanders' games. She is third on the team with 6.8 points per game in 17.8 minutes per game. She has also chipped in a team-high 23 steals, which is good for a tie for seventh place in the SLC.
Darling recorded a season-high 17 points at UTPA and grabbed a season-high seven rebounds vs. Auburn. She also scored 12 points in both games against Colorado and Auburn in the Omni Hotels Classic. She netted a game-high 14 points vs. UTPA and chipped in four of the Islanders' season-high 18 steals.
Right behind Darley is Alisa Roberts who is fourth on the team with 6.2 points per game. The senior tallied a season-high 16 points vs. Texas State.
Last season's Southland Conference assist leader Verne'qua Taylor brought back her old ways vs. Texas State with a season-best eight assists. She followed that performance with six assists vs. Cornell. Taryn Gregory has dished out 23 assists and has started in 11 of the Islanders' 14 games this season. Marquesha Anderson-Sparks leads the team at the charity stripe with a .818 percentage (18-of-22).
The Islanders out rebounded the Cowgirls' 43-38 on Thursday. Ashley Darley and Jessica Jammer each tallied a team-high seven, while Brandi Huff added six. 10 of the 12 active Islanders tallied at least one rebound.
The Islanders put together a strong second-half in its last home game on Monday against Stephen F. Austin. After trailing, 33-15 in the first half, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi gained momentum out of the half and out rebounded the Ladyjacks' 22-18, including 11-4 on the offensive end. SFA outscored the Islanders just 33-32 in the second half. The Islanders capitalized on 14 second-chance points and outscored SFA 26-18 in the paint.
Royce Chadwick is the fourth coach in Islanders' history to make his debut on the sidelines. He holds 562 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. 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 joins 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 made his Islanders' coaching debut this season as the Islanders Assistant Coach. Brunson comes to the Island University after spending the past two years as the associate head coach and team's recruiting coordinator at Texas Southern. Geoff Grawn is in his 11th season on the Islanders' staff as an assistant coach.
The Islanders will return to the American Bank Center on Thursday, Jan. 17 to host first-year Southland Conference member Oral Roberts. Tipoff is slated for 5:00 p.m.