January 10, 2009

ISLANDERS HOLD OFF SUGAR BEARS IN SLC OPENER

Conway, Ark. - The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's basketball team won their opening game of Southland Conference play with a 52-50 win over the Central Arkansas Sugar Bears.

The Islanders improve to 5-8 overall, 1-0 in SLC play while the Sugar Bears fall to 4-10 on the year, 0-1 in SLC action.

The Islanders scored the games opening basket on a Sarah Davidson layup, but UCA quickly answered with a three-point shot and layup of their own to take an early 5-2 lead.

A jumper by Jade Davis followed by a Myesha Myles layup put the Islanders back on top at the 17:05 mark of the first half, marking the last time the Islanders would trail in the game.

After briefly being tied at 6-6, the Islanders scored the next 11 points to take a 17-6 lead at the 7:19 mark of the first half. The run marked a nearly 10-minute stretch where TAMUCC held UCA scoreless.

The Islanders only allowed UCA a total of 12 points in the first half while holding the Sugar Bears to 10.7% shooting from the field. TAMUCC took a 26-12 lead into the half.

"We had a great effort in the first half on the defensive end." said Head Coach Robert Robinson. "Our players executed on both ends of the court and built up a nice lead."

The Sugar Bears came back out for the second half looking like a different team. After being held to just 10.7 % shooting in the first half, they responded by hitting 42.9% in the second half.

The first 10 minutes of the second half saw the Sugar Bears cut into the Islanders lead significantly, bringing the score to 38-31 at the 11:29 mark.

A free throw and a layup by Shaye Montgomery pushed the Islander lead back to 10, but UCA scored 9-of-10 points in the game to pull to within 42-40 with 4:59 left in the game.

"I thought the players relaxed a bit at the half after building a big lead." said Robinson. "UCA got hot from the three-point line and we were not able to play with the same intensity as we did in the first half."

With the Islanders leading by only two points at 42-40, Jade Davis came up with a big three-pointer to push the lead back to five at 45-40. The two teams traded jumpers before the Sugar Bears hit a pair of back-to-back layups to bring the score to 51-50.

The Islanders were vexed at the free throw line, missing 5-of-6 from the line over the final 22 seconds, missing opportunities to secure the game late.

"We did well on the offensive end in the second half except for not hitting our free throws." said Robinson. "We executed our sets well and were able to get to the line, but we were only able to hit 50% from the line."

The Islanders were able to hang on as a desperation three-pointer by UCA was off the mark, taking a 52-50 victory in their first conference game.

Despite the struggles from the line, the Islanders made up for it by dominating the boards throughout the game as well as at the end. The Islanders held a 49-34 advantage in rebounding for the game.

"We really got everybody involved, even the guards were getting in there both on offense and defense." said Robinson. "We got stops when we needed to and won the rebounding battle."

The Islanders were able to get the road victory in what will be their longest conference road trip of the year.

"It was great to get the first conference win right out of the box." said Robinson. "It was a nice win on the road and one of those games we are going to have to get if we want to compete for the conference title."

The Islanders were led in scoring by Myles with 10 points to go along with five rebounds. Davis and Adrienne Scott added nine points each as the second-leading scorers. Deziree Green led the Islanders with eight rebounds in the game.

The Islanders are next in action on Jan. 14 as they travel to San Marcos to take on Texas State in their second SLC game of the year. Game time is set for 7 PM.