CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's basketball team had its streak of three consecutive wins snapped on Thursday, dropping a 55-50 overtime contest with UTSA.
The Islanders led by four with 3:22 left in the second half before the Roadrunners scored six of the final eight points to send the game to overtime after a heave by Ashley Darley at the buzzer came up just short.
In the final five minutes of play, A&M – Corpus Christi was only able to muster one point compared to the Roadrunners' six, leading to the Islanders first loss since Nov. 14.
Shola Adebayo led the way for the Islanders in regards to points scored with 15. Most of her damage came from the free throw line, going 11-of-13 from the charity stripe. She also added seven rebounds on the night.
Once again, freshman Brittany Mbamalu had a strong outing in her fourth-straight start, picking up another double digit scoring performance in as many games. For the night, she had 12 points, including two threes along with six rebounds.
Brandi Huff had the second double digit rebound performance of her career, pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds while adding six points, two blocks and two steals.
As a whole it was a tough shooting night for the home team in its first game in the American Bank Center, converting just 13 out of 55 of its shots. A&M – Corpus Christi also went just 2-of-14 from behind the arc after entering the game as the Southland's top three point shooting team.
The Islanders jumped out on top early, as Huff drove the lane and hit a layup on the team's first offensive possession of the half. However, the A&M – Corpus Christi shooters went cold over the next seven minutes, as they were unable to hit a shot over that stretch. This led to the Roadrunners scoring 10 straight points to go up 10-2 with 13:46 left in the half.
It was Camesha Davis who final got the Islanders out of the slump, hitting a layup to pull the home team within six.
The teams then traded points, each scoring four points to make it a 14-8 game with 9:08 left to play in the half. After missing her first two three-point attempts, Mbamalu drained one after being setup by Taryn Gregory to pull the Islanders within three, forcing UTSA to call a timeout with 7:13 left.
A layup by the Roadrunners pushed the lead back to five, but the Islanders were able to do what they have been so accustomed to doing lately – making a run. After two free throws by Gregory, Mbamalu hit another three to tie the game at 16.
Huff came right back down the court on the next possession, hitting a jumper in the paint to give A&M – Corpus Christi its first lead since recording the first bucket of the game.
Two free throws by Gregory finished off a 9-0 run for the Islanders to put her team up by four before a three by UTSA's Kamra King cut the lead to one with 4:06 left in the half.
A layup by the Roadrunners gave the lead back to the visitors, going up by one, but Gregory was able to draw a foul and sink two free throws, putting the Islanders back up by one with 2:34 left in half.
UTSA was able to hit two free throws of its own to take a one point lead. The teams then traded buckets before Gregory would hit her seventh free throw of the half — all seven of her points in the first half came from the charity stripe — to tie the game up for the fifth time of the first 20 minutes of play.
However, King made a layup after an Islanders turnover to give her 11 points in the half and put the Roadruners up by two heading into the locker room.
In the second half, UTSA tallied the first five points in the final 20 minutes, netting a layup following an offensive rebound and a three. The teams then traded free throws over the next two minutes to make it a 33-26 Roadrunner lead with 16:38 left on the clock.
The first Islanders field goal of the half did not come until Adebayo hit a layup more than four and a half minutes into the second to cut the deficit to five.
However, A&M – Corpus Christi followed that scoreless drought up with another one, failing to score in the next 3:24, while UTSA scored four to push its lead up to double digits.
That was when the Roadrunners' foul troubles came into play. The Islanders scored their next seven out of nine points all from the free throw line — all by Adebayo. UTSA only picked up two points over that stretch, watching its lead dwindle down to three with 8:32 left to play.
The Roadrunners would extend their lead back to five after two free throws, but a Huff layup followed by an old-fashion three-point play by Mbamalu with 4:44 left to play tied the game up for the first time since the end of the first half.
A&M – Corpus Christi extended its run out to seven unanswered points to take its biggest lead of the night, notching a 47-43 lead with 3:22 left in regulation.
It was then that the Roadrunners went on a four to six run to close out the half and send the game into overtime.
In the final five minutes of play, the Islanders were unable to hit any of their 10 shots, including a three by Mbamalu that rimmed in and out with 20 seconds left to play that would have tied the game.
Off the miss, Camesha Davis had a chance to put home the layup after getting an offensive rebound, but she was unable to convert and the Roadrunners hit two free throws on the other end to secure the win.
The Islanders will be back in action on Sunday, as they will take on Texas-Pan American at 2 p.m. back in the ABC.
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