CORPUS CHRISTI – In the championship game of the Emerald Beach Islanders Classic the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's basketball team fell just short, as the Islanders lost 58-55 on Saturday.
Once again, Jasmine Shaw led the way for the Islanders with another 20-point performance, putting up 22 to make her way on the All-Tournament Team. Senior Ashley Darley also was put on the team, as she knocked down eight points in the game for a tournament total of 21.
Taryn Gregory also added 12 points to go along with a team-high five assists, picking up several in key transition plays late in the game.
After going 8-27 in the first half, the Islanders got into a rhythm offensively in the second, accumulating a 46 percent average from the field in the final twenty minutes of play. They also went 11-14 from the line in the second half.
It was a quick start for Fairfield, as they scored eight unanswered points to begin the game. The Islanders came right back though, scoring the next four points to make it 8-4 at the first media timeout.
Shola Adebayo would come off the bench and start right where she left off from last game, drilling a three before slicing down the lane to make it a 14-10 ballgame with the Stags still ahead.
After Fairfield went on a 7-2 run to open the lead up to a 21-12, head coach Royce Chadwick called a timeout to gather his team. The Islanders responded, especially one of their senior leaders, as Gregory scored four during A&M – Corpus Christi's 6-0 run to trim the deficit to just five.
The teams would both go on a four-minute scoreless streak before the Stags gathered an offensive rebound and put it back in to go back up by seven with one minute left in the half. It was a quick response by the Islanders though, as Shaw came right back down the court and found an opening in the lane to make it 18-23 with the clock winding down.
A make and a miss on the charity stripe for Fairfield, followed by a shot rimming out for Alissa Campanero at the buzzer, would send the Islanders to the locker room facing a 24-18 deficit.
The Islanders got off to a hot start offensively in the second half, as Shaw knocked down a triple on the team's first possession of the half to bring the Islanders within three.
Once again, Fairfield would not let A&M – Corpus Christi get any closer for the moment, as it two consecutive layups would extend the lead back to seven.
The Islanders would finally break through though, as after Gregory pulled down a defensive board and found Shaw on the outlet for the easy bucket, Darley would come right back down to hit a running jumper to give the home team its first lead of the game at the 15:36 mark in the second half.
Over the next four minutes and 48 seconds, neither team was able to grab solid control of the game, as during that stretch there were four changes of possession and three ties to give the Stags a two-point lead with just under 11 minutes left in regulation.
Much like in the first half, the Islanders would inch closer to the Stags, but could not quite catch up and Fairfield would open up its biggest lead of the half after a three pushed the Islander deficit to eight with 3:43 left on the clock.
It was Brittany Mbamalu that had the response for A&M – Corpus Christi, as she came off the bench, making made her first points as an Islander count by knocking down a three to cut the lead to five.
The gap would still loom at five for the Islanders with just 47 ticks left on the clock, but the tide turned for the Islanders, as Fairfield's Brittany Obi-Tabot picked up a foul and was then issued a technical to send the Islanders to the line to shoot four free throws.
Shaw stepped and sank the first two to cut the gap to three, but Lexy Harris was not able to convert on her shots from the line. However, the ball would find its way out of bounds and the Islanders would retain possession with 26 seconds left.
Off of the inbound pass, Shaw's three-point attempt would go just a little long, but once again the ball would go off of a Fairfield defender and A&M – Corpus Christi would have one more shot to tie it.
With seven seconds left on the clock, the ball was inbounded to Gregory and she looked to get it to Shaw to give her another chance to tie it, but she could not and had to swing it over to Adebayo, but she was unable to get off a three and Fairfield would go on to win the Emerald Beach Islanders Classic by a score of 58-55.
After playing two games in two days, the Islanders will get a quick break, as they resume action on Thursday, Nov. 14 as Southern Utah makes the trip to the Coastal Bend. The game will be played in the Dugan Wellness Center with tip scheduled for 7 p.m.
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