CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team went to the locker room with a 23-22 lead over Central Arkansas, but saw it quickly evaporate in the second half, falling 55-40 Saturday afternoon at the American Bank Center.
Brandi Huff powered the Islanders (1-16, 0-6 SLC) with 10 points and a career-high eight rebounds and Marquesha Anderson-Sparks added nine, including seven from the charity stripe. Ashley Darley also tallied a career-high eight rebounds. The Islanders' bench outscored Central Arkansas' (12-5, 5-1 SLC) bench 21-13, behind Huff's 10 and Anderson-Sparks' nine. Alisa Roberts also chipped in five points.
Last season's Southland Conference Player of the Year Megan Herbert led all scorers with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Courtney Duever added 11 points and 12 rebounds for UCA.
The Sugar Bears jumped out to a 8-2 lead before Darley and Roberts hit consecutive baskets to pull within two. Central Arkansas added back-to-back buckets before Jessica Jammer got on board with a putback. After trading baskets back and forth, Huff nailed a jumper to jumpstart an 8-2 Islander run to knot the score at 18 with five minutes to play in the half. During the run, Huff, Verne'qua Taylor and Jammer each contributed to the scoring.
Central Arkansas put together a 4-0 run to build a four-point cushion but the Islanders answered with a jumper from Janae Blount and a three by Roberts to pull ahead by one with 1:18 to play in the half.
The Islanders held the lead to head into the half with a 23-22 lead on 45.8 percent shooting from the field. Huff paced the Islanders with six points and four rebounds while Roberts added five points. The Islanders' bench chipped in 17 of the Islanders' 23 points. Herbert led the Sugar Bears with six points. The two teams were even on the boards with 15 apiece.
Central Arkansas gained momentum out of the half putting together a 10-0 run to build a nine-point lead before Huff got on board with a jumper with 15:19 to play. The Sugar Bears followed with an 8-2 run before the Islanders bounced back to cut the lead to seven on an 8-2 run of their own with 9:28 to play. However, UCA pushed the lead back to 12. Anderson-Sparks followed with a free throw and Duever added a layup. Anderson-Sparks added four points from the charity stripe but Central Arkansas ended the game with a 6-0 run to secure their fifth conference victory of the season.
Darley, Anderson-Sparks, Blount, Imani Dunn and Ashanti Plummer all received the starting nod for the Islanders, the first time that starting five has seen the floor together and eighth different starting lineup this season.
The Islanders will travel to Thibodaux, La. to take on Nicholls State on Thursday, Jan. 24. Tipoff is slated for 5:30 p.m.
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