March 11, 2009

ISLANDERS CLOSE OUT SEASON WITH LOSS IN SLC TOURNAMENT

Katy - The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's basketball team closed its season with a 91-59 loss to UT Arlington on Wednesday at the Leonard E. Merrell Center, the site of the 2009 State Farm Southland Conference Basketball Tournament.

The loss closes the book on the season, as the Islanders finished the year at 11-19 overall, with a 6-10 record in the SLC. The Mavericks move on to the second round to play the winner of the late game between Stephen F. Austin and Lamar. They improved their overall record to 21-9 on the year.

The Islanders finish a trying season in which three players were lost for the year, severely hampering their efforts. Regardless of the adversity, the team always found a way and made the tournament despite the decked being stacked against them.

In the first half, the Mavericks took the early lead, going up 4-0 before Adrienne Scott put the Islanders on the board with a layin at the 19:04 mark.

The Islanders struggled to find a rhythm early on, as the Mavericks went on a run to go up by 17 at 27-10. TAMUCC started a run of its own at the 10:03 mark, beginning with a Shaye Montgomery three-pointer. The Islanders cut the lead down to 27-17 after scoring seven-straight points, but were unable to keep it going.

Candice Champion hit a free throw for the Mavericks to break the scoreless streak at 7:39 and making it 28-17. The Islanders were unable to close the gap any further, as the Mavericks pushed the lead to as many as 22 at 41-19. The Mavericks took their biggest lead of the half with 20 seconds left at 51-26

The Mavericks grew their lead at the free throw line, where UTA had an astonishing 20-to-2 advantage in shots taken in the opening half. The Islanders were called for double the fouls of the Mavericks, as TAMUCC was charged with 12 while UTA recorded just six.

Already shorthanded due to the previous injuries and Myeisha Myles' recent injury, the Islanders were dealt another blow when guard Deziree Green hit a layup at the 6:40 mark, coming down awkwardly and not returning for the rest of the game after walking off the court on a substitution.

Just as they have all season, the Islanders soldiered on and kept fighting through it in the second half. Walk-on Rebecca Cantu' saw extensive action in the second half, playing a season-high 14 minutes for TAMUCC.

In the second half, the Mavericks extended their lead early on. They pushed the lead to 58-30 at the 16:38 mark. The Islanders were able to get the margin down to 22 at two different times in the second half but were unable to get any closer. Despite the rough first half, the Islanders kept fighting and scored 33 points in the second half to the Mavericks 40.

"I'm very proud of our kids and the way they kept fighting," said head coach Robert Robinson. "They played hard till the final buzzer."

Montgomery scored a game-high 18 points for the Islanders. Scott and Jade Davis each had 13 as the other Islanders in double-digits. The top scorers for the Mavericks were Tamara Simmons and Erin Dixon, with each scoring 15 points in the game.

The Islanders now head into the off season with a new focus and a new toughness learned through the adversity of the year. They return all but one player, senior Sarah Davidson, and should show marked improvement with the addition of several key players missing for all or part of this season.

"We've been through a lot of adversity this year," said Robinson. "We will be motivated next year with everybody coming back."

"We're going to work harder this off season and get better." said Montgomery. "We just have to get ready and come back better next season."