TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (1-16, 0-6 SLC) AT NICHOLLS STATE (11-6, 3-3 SLC)
THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team heads on the road to take on Nicholls State Thursday, Jan. 24 in Thibodaux, La. The Islanders are looking for its first conference victory of the season while Nicholls State is coming off two consecutive losses after starting conference play at 3-1. The Islanders are coming off a 55-40 home loss to Central Arkansas on Saturday.
Thursday's game will mark the seventh meeting between the two teams. The Islanders have the 4-2 all-time series advantage and are 1-2 when playing Nicholls State in Thibodaux. The Islanders have split its last two meetings with Nicholls State. Last season, the Islanders topped the Colonels, 70-63.
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.
Nicholls State enters Thursday's game with an 11-6 record, including a 3-3 record in SLC play while the Islanders are 1-16 (0-6 SLC).
• Brandi Huff powered the Islanders with 10 points and a career-high eight rebounds Saturday against Central Arkansas.
•The Islanders led at the half for the third straight game and fifth time this season, but the Sugar Bears' second-half play edged the Islanders. The Islanders are 1-5 when leading at the half.
•For the second straight game, the Islanders had contribution from their bench. On Thursday against Oral Roberts the Islanders' bench notched the 16-8 advantage and on Saturday the Islanders' outscored the Sugar Bears' bench 21-13.
•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.
•Janae Blount leads the team with 9.1 points per game, which ranks 20th in the Southland Conference.
•Coach Chadwick has used eight different starting lineups this season. On Saturday, he used the starting lineup of Ashley Darley, Imani Dunn, Janae Blount, Ashanti Plummer and Marquesha Anderson-Sparks for the first time this season.
SCOUTING NICHOLLS STATE
The Colonels and Islanders will meet for the seventh time in program history. The Islanders lead the all-time series 4-2.
The last time the Islanders and Colonels met up was last season at the American Bank Center on Feb. 1. Former Islander Zoe Vega-Vega powered the Islanders with her third double-double of the season and Verne'qua Taylor tallied a career-high 20 points to lift the Islanders to a 70-63 victory over the Colonels. Prior to that, the Colonels edged the Islanders 77-74 in Thibodaux on February 2, 2011.
Nicholls State has won three out of its last five games. The Colonels are coming off two straight losses and have been on the road for its last four conference games. Nicholls State is coming off a 74-66 loss to Stephen F. Austin and a 64-55 loss to Northwestern State, both on the road. Nicholls State has Southland Conference victories against Oral Roberts, McNeese State and Southeastern La.
Nicholls State is averaging 65.6 points per game behind Alisha Allen's 15.0 points per game and KK Babin's 12.2 points per game. Allen leads the boards with 5.9 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.
A DUNN DEAL
On Thursday against Oral Roberts, Imani Dunn made her first season start and gave the Islanders a spark, scoring the first seven points for the Islanders. She also tied a career-high three from behind the arc in a career-high 32 minutes. The veteran also started against Central Arkansas on Saturday.
Jessica Jammer has powered the Islanders' offense in conference play. She is second in scoring with 7.5 per game and has registered five double-figure scoring games this season. She leads the team with 5.5 rebounds per game, which is good for a tie for 17th place in the SLC. The senior leads the Islanders in conference play with 7.7 points per game.
BE BLUNT ABOUT IT
Freshman guard Janae Blount is leading the Islanders with 9.1 points per game which is good for 20th in the SLC in scoring. She has scored in double figures in seven of the 17 games this season and has made starts in 10. 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 13 of the 17 Islanders' games. She is third on the team with 6.5 points per game in 17.9 minutes per game. She has also chipped in a team-high 26 steals, which is good for ninth 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. She led the team with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting at Lamar.
Right behind Darley is Alisa Roberts who is fourth on the team with 5.8 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 24 assists and has started in 11 of the Islanders' 17 games this season. Marquesha Anderson-Sparks has been strong this season from the charity stripe with a .778 percentage (28-of-36). The junior made her first season start at Lamar and started against Central Arkansas where she went 7-for-8 from the free throw line.
LEADING AT THE HALF
The Islanders took a 23-22 lead at the half vs. Oral Roberts on Thursday behind the team's 53.8 percent shooting from the field and followed it with the same 23-22 halftime score on Saturday vs. Central Arkansas. It was the sixth time this season the Islanders headed into the locker room ahead. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is 1-5 when leading at the half.
The Islanders' bench outscored Oral Robert's bench 16-8. Janae Blount led the bench with seven points while Brandi Huff chipped in five. On Saturday, the Islanders' bench outscored Central Arkansas' bench 21-13 behind Huff's 10 points.
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. Darren Brunson also made his Islanders' coaching debut this season as the Islanders Assistant Coach. Geoff Grawn is in his 11th season on the Islanders' staff as an assistant coach.
The Islanders will remain on the road to take on Southeastern La. in Hammond, La. on Saturday, Jan. 26. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m.