January 30, 2014

Women's Basketball Drops Thriller At Sam Houston

HUNTSVILLE, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's basketball team lost another nail biter, as it was unable to hit a shot with the clock running down to drop a 79-76 game in Sam Houston State. 

The Islanders (10-10, 3-6 SLC) had another well-rounded game, as they had four different players in double figures with Jasmine Shaw and Brandi Huff leading the way with 13. Shaw also had five rebounds to go along with eight steals. Lexy Harris (11) and freshman Kassie Jones (10) rounded out the double-digit scorers.

The Islanders shot the ball well, shooting at a 40 percent clip, making this the first time the team has lost when scoring 70 or more points and shooting at least 40 percent from the field.

SHSU (10-9, 5-3) also had a well-rounded game with four players of its own hitting double digits in the scoring column. Leading the way for the Bearkats was a Jasmine of their own, with Jasmine Johnson scoring a game-high 17 points.

Maggie Lorenz had a big game for the Bearkats, coming off the bench for a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

For the first time in three games the Islanders did not open up the scoring, as a SHSU triple got things going 46 seconds into the game.

However, Huff started a run by herself for the Islanders with the next seven points for A&M – Corpus Christi. Amanda Barnes hit her second three of the game during that time to make it a 7-6 A&M – Corpus Christi lead at the 16:44 mark.

The Islanders kept the pressure on, as they scored the next six points to open up a lead of as many. A Bearkat jumper put an end to that run, but the visitors kept rolling early on, scoring six in a row again, culminating with a three ball by Alissa Campanero with 12:27 on the clock to give the Islanders a 19-8 lead.

SHSU answered with a run of its own though, knocking down the next nine of 11 points to pull within four — the closest the Bearkats had been in five minutes.

Shola Adebayo then knocked down a free throw and Campanero hit her second three of the game to extend the lead back out to eight. The Bearkats got the same pairing of a single free throw and triple, though, and pulled within four once again this time at the 7:28 mark in the first.

Shaw got fouled on a three and knocked down all of her free throws, but the Bearkats got three points of their own a little easier with a bucket from behind the arc to keep it a four-point game at 6:55.

After a Jones layup pushed the lead back up to six, Johnson hit a triple for the home team to cut the lead in half. The teams then traded buckets to keep it a three-point game.

It was then that the Islanders scored the next seven points to jump out to double digit lead with just 54 ticks left in the half.

However, the Bearkats responded with the final four points of the half to make it a 45-39 game after the first 20 minutes of play.

The teams traded buckets coming out of the locker room before a three by Johnson pulled the Bearkats within three.

The Islanders stayed just ahead though, as SHSU made it a three-point game two more times, and even cut it to one before Campanero hit her third three of the game to give the Islanders a 54-50 lead with 13:48 on the clock.

However, the A&M – Corpus Christi went cold, scoring just two points over the next five minutes and 50 seconds, which led to SHSU taking its first lead since the opening minute of the game, with the score sitting at 58-56 with just under eight minutes left in the game. Also a key during that stretch was Camesha Davis fouling out with more than 10 minutes left to play.

Lexy Harris tied the game up at 58 with a pair of free throws, but a three by Amanda Barnes ran the lead up to three for the home team. The Bearkats continued to remain hot, going on a 10-3 lead to get out to their biggest lead of the game at 72-63 with 4:16 left on the clock.

It was then that head coach Royce Chadwick called a timeout to gather his team and urge them to turn up the pressure. That is exactly what they did, as after a Jones layup, the Islanders forced a turnover and Mbamalu got fouled and hit one of two from the line.

The miss wasn't a bad thing though, as Jones got the rebound off the free throw and kicked it back out to Mbamalu for a three to cut the lead back down to three with 3:33 left in the game.

The Bearkats got back out to a five-point lead, but a pair of free throws by Shaw and a layup from Jones after Shaw forced a turnover made it a 75-74 game with 1:43 left on the clock.

The pressure remained constant for the Islanders, as they forced another turnover, which led to a Shaw layup after she gathered the rebound from her own missed three-point attempt. The layup put A&M – Corpus Christi back on top, leading 76-75 with just over a minute left to play.

However, some timely defense with three blocked shots to go along with a field goal and free throws led the Bearkats to the win. 

The Islanders will be back in action Saturday in Lamar to wrap up the first half of their four-game road trip. That game will start at 4 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN3.