The season started with a convincing victory for the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's basketball team, a 65-46 win over Air Force on Friday night. It was the first game for both teams in the Holiday Inn Emerald Beach Tip-Off Tournament.
The Islanders are now 1-0 while Air Force goes to 0-1. Their record in season-opening games is now 5-6 with this being the first win since the 2004-05 season.
Senior Center Elisa Beagle led all Islanders with 16 points in her first game back after missing last season with an injury. Beagle shot 67% from the field after going 8-12 on the night.
"Our post players did a good job inside," said head coach Robert Robinson. "We thought we would have an advantage on the inside against Air Force and it was nice to see that come to fruition."
The game was sluggish early on, with neither team able to find an offensive rhythm. Air Force was down 12-3 at the 11:07 mark before coming back to take a brief 13-12 lead at 5:04 of the first half. The Islanders went more than six minutes without a made shot until a layup by Beagle broke the drought and gave TAMUCC the lead once again.
Once Beagle hit her shot, the Islanders went on an 11-6 run to end the half with a 23-19 halftime lead. TAMUCC shot just 29% in the first half and were unable to get into a grove on the offensive side. The break did the team good however, as they came out on fire in the second half and shot 49% the rest of the way.
Lauren Smith started the scoring with a pair of free throws followed by an Adrienne Scott layup to make it 27-19 just over a minute into the half. The Islanders went back-and-forth with the Falcons to 29-24 before starting a run that would put the game away. From the 17:15 mark to 9:28 left in the game, TAMUCC outscored the Falcons 17-6 to take a commanding 46-30 lead on a layup by Beagle.
"Our guards struggled early and had trouble knocking down open shots," said Robinson. "I think it was mostly first half jitters since we didn't play an exhibition game this year.
"Once we came out in the second half we did a much better job offensively."
The run effectively put the game away as the two teams matched scores the rest of the way with a slight 19-16 edge to the Islanders. Beagle scored four more points in the time while Jessica Jammer and Anitra Jeffery scored their first points of their Islander careers. Jade Davis closed out the scoring with a made free throw to make it a 65-46 final.
In addition to Beagle's 16 points, Deziree Green also put up a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds on the night. Davis added 10 points while leading the team with five assists. Scott put in six points, Shaye Montgomery had five, Lauren Smith and Jeffery had four and Ashley Darley, Jammer, LaToya Thomas and Myeisha Myles each had two points. Myles also had seven rebounds while Beagle and Montgomery added five each. The Falcons Raimee Beck led all scorers in the game with 21 points in addition to leading her team with eight rebounds.
"All of our post players did well, Myles played some of the best defense she has in her career," said Robinson. "We are pretty tough to beat when Elisa is on."
TAMUCC will now move on to meet the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday night at 7:30 PM. The Tide won the early game with a 73-68 final over the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles. The Falcons will play the Eagles in the early game tomorrow starting at 5 PM.