Cougars use hot start to hold off Islanders rally
HOUSTON, Texas - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team fell by a 72-62 final against the Houston Cougars on Sunday at the Hofheinz Pavilion on the University of Houston. Despite an early 17-point deficit, the team refused to quit as they fought their way back into the contest.
The loss drops the Islanders to 0-7 on the season while the Cougars improved to 5-1 on the year behind 29 points from Brittney Scott, who made seven three-point shots to pace UH.
Lauren Smith led Texas A&M - Corpus Christi with 16 points on the day while three of her teammates also scored in double digits. Adrienne Scott scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for her first double-double in just her third game back from injury. Anitra Jeffery also scored 12 points while Ashley Darley just missed a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing nine boards on the afternoon.
The Islanders beat the Cougars on the boards by a 42-40 margin and shot 44.1% to Houston's 39.1% from the field.
The Islanders scored the first basket of the game on a Scott jumper, but the Cougars scored the next 19 to take a commanding 19-2 lead with 16:04 left in the opening period. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi was able to break the run with a jumper and free throw to complete a three-point play at the 14:37 mark. That started an 11-0 run over a three-minute span to close the gap to 19-13 following the second media timeout. The teams traded points over the next three minutes with the score 30-21 in favor of UH with under seven minutes left in the half. The Cougars pushed the lead back to as many as 16 with a 41-25 lead at the 2:19 mark of the period. Despite the deficit, he team kept up the effort the entire 20 minutes, with Smith scoring the final seven points of the half to cut the lead to 41-32 at the intermission.
Smith had 11 points at the break to lead Texas A&M - Corpus Christi while Scott was second with eight points while Darley was the third-leading scorer with six in the half. Scott led the team in rebounding with six at the break. Smith and Darley were tied for second with three going into halftime.
A layup by Darley, a pair of free throws from Taryn Gregory and a jumper by Zoey Vega-Vega made it a five-point game at 43-38 and forced the Cougars to call a timeout with 17:15 in the second half. They were able to cut the lead to just three, getting it to 43-40, before a 13-2 run by the Cougars pushed the advantage back to 14 at 56-42 with 11:53 left in the game. In a game of runs, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi made another one of its own, outscoring UH 7-0 with a big three-point shot from Smith to cut the deficit back to single-digits at 58-49 with 8:44 left.
The Islanders were never able to get any closer than eight the rest of the way as the Cougars held on for a 72-62 win over the Islanders.
Next up for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is the first home game in over a month when they host St. Edward's on December 16 at the Dugan Wellness Center. It will be the first home contest for the Islanders since the season-opening Islanders Tip-Off Tournament at the American Bank Center on November 11-12. The team will be looking to get its first win of the season before heading to Gainesville, Fla. on December 20-21 for the Gator Holiday Classic at the University of Florida.