CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's basketball team were unable to finish out its three-game homestand with a win, as Southern Utah ended up defeating the Islanders 74-67 on Thursday in the Dugan Wellness Center.
Once again, it was Jasmine Shaw who led the Islanders (1-2), setting another career high with 23 points, shooting 5-6 from downtown and 4-4 from the free-throw line. She also was one steal away from tying the school record with six on the night.
Last season, Ashley Darley was the only Islander to record two games with 20 or more points. Shaw has already eclipsed that mark, scoring 20 points in three-straight games to open the season.
Lexy Harris earned her first start of the season and posted a career high with eight points, going 3-7 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line.
As a team, the Islanders shot the ball exceptionally well from the free throw line, knocking down 16-of-19 for an 84 percent mark. They have improved at the line every game after shooting 58 percent and then 75 percent in the first two games, respectively.
The Islanders also wreaked havoc on the Thunderbirds' ball handlers, causing 25 turnovers. However, the turnovers did not effect the shooting out of SUU (2-0), as after the Islanders kept their first two opponents to less than 40 percent, the Thunderbirds converted on 26 of 55 shots for a 47 percent mark.
Shola Adebayo picked up the first start of her career with the Islanders, and made an immediate impact, scooping up a missed layup by Taryn Gregory after a steal and putting it back to give A&M – Corpus Christi an early 2-0 lead.
After a quick three and a put-back on an offensive rebound, the Thunderbirds took a 5-2 lead, but a free throw, followed by Shaw's first three of the night cut the lead to one with 16:17 left.
Both sides then exchanged buckets during the next several possessions. In about a five-minute span the score changed hands three times, while being tied during four different instances.
With the Islanders up 16-13, the Thunderbirds went on an 11-2 run over a three minute and 52 second span to take a six-point lead.
It was then that Shaw took over, knocking down three shots in a row from behind the arc. Unfortunately, Southern Utah scored four points during that same stretch, and the Islanders found themselves down by one with 1:32 left on the clock in the first half.
The Thunderbirds converted on an inbound play right before the halftime horn sounded. With 20 minutes left to play, Southern Utah held a 30-27 lead.
After SUU jumped out to a five-point lead to open up the second half, the Islanders scored five of their own. Gregory knocked down a shot from downtown and Harris then tied the game up at 34 on the next possession.
However, the Thunderbirds went on a 9-0 lead during the next 3:09 to push the lead to 43-34 with 13:11 left to play, forcing Islanders head coach Royce Chadwick to call a timeout.
Southern Utah's momentum was not be slowed down though, as every time A&M – Corpus Christi scored, its opponents came right back down the court with a response of their own. Between the 12:47 and 8:14 mark the Thunderbirds outscored the Islanders by six to open up a 14-point lead — their biggest of the night.
That is when the Islanders attempted to start their comeback, relying heavily on their scoring leader, Shaw. In less than a minute, Shaw went on a 7-0 run by herself, knocking down a jumper, two free throws and then a trey to pull her team within seven.
After the Thunderbirds knocked down a free throw on the other end, Gregory hit a running jumper on the baseline. Then about a minute later, Shaw canned a step-back jumper with her foot just on the line to cut the Thunderbird lead to four with 4:35 left.
This was the closest A&M – Corpus Christi had been to Southern Utah in more than 11 minutes and, unfortunately, it is as close as the Islanders got the rest of the game.
The Thunderbirds scored nine of the next 10 to push the lead back up to 12 with 1:25 left. A three from deep by Brittany Mbamalu pulled the Islanders within seven with 22 ticks left, but no further heroics came and A&M – Corpus Christi dropped the contest by a score of 74-67.
Up next for the Islanders will be a two-game road trip to Nashville, Tenn., as they will play games at Belmont and Tennesse Tech on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. Both games are scheduled for 6 p.m. tips.
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