CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's basketball team will open the 2011-12 season at home Saturday, Nov. 12 against Big 12 opponent Missouri, in what looks to be an improved year for the team. The Islanders will look to make strides in the Southland Conference after falling back in the conference standings while being hindered with injuries a year ago. The 2011-12 team features seven newcomers, three freshmen and four junior college transfers under the direction of head coach Robert Robinson.
"One thing that I like especially with the new kids and the returners that we have, is we have some depth this year that we haven't had in the past," Robinson said. "It makes practice each and every day competitive, which is exactly what you want. There will be people fighting for starting positions each and every day, which is always a positive thing."
The Islanders return seven players, including top junior guard Jessica Jammer. Last season, Jammer averaged 8.1 points and collected 117 rebounds while starting 23 out of the 29 games. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi will also look to senior Myeisha Myles, who was sidelined last season with an injury. As a junior, Myles played in 34 of the 35 games and led the team in scoring three times during the season.
"Jessica Jammer had an up and coming season last year," Robinson said. "I think this could be a breakout season for her, and we will be able to play her at a set position, unlike last year, where she was having to play inside and outside for us. Limiting her to one key position will help her tremendously confidence wise and put her in a position to be effective."
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi will look to seven newcomers, including Verne'qua Taylor, who will lead the team on the offensive end at the point guard position. Taylor is a junior college transfer from Blinn Junior College. The 5-6 Wharton, Texas, native averaged 9.5 points and 6.1 assists per game while at Blinn.
"Overall, I really like all the new kids," Robinson said. "Each of them has their own individual talent and they bring a lot to the table at each spot. I think one of the keys for us heading into this year is the direction of our point guard. I'm very pleased with Verne'qua. She is going to have a really good year for us. We have already improved this year, not even having played a game, with her just being our point guard."
Sophomore Marquesha Anderson-Sparks, who played with Taylor at Blinn, will also provide the Islanders a spark at the shooting guard position, along with junior college transfer Alisa Roberts. Freshmen Sara Alva, Trish Amboree, and Mariah Jordan, along with junior college transfer Damequia Montgomery will all provide depth to the Islanders roster.
"Marquesha Anderson-Sparks and Alisa Roberts can shoot the ball, which is another big need that we had coming into this season," Robinson said. "They both have been shooting the ball very well and will be expected to have a good season for us. We are going to count on them heavily."
The Islanders will play a tough schedule this season, including taking on Missouri, Colorado and Indiana. They will also participate in the Houston Baptist and Rice Tournaments. The Islanders host 13 games, including four which will be played at the Dugan Wellness Center.
"We will be tested right off the bat," Robinson said. "We have Missouri coming here in the opening game of the season and Colorado is coming in shortly after that. Then we are at Arkansas State, so that's three key battles for us right away.
"We are at Indiana, which is another tough opponent, as well as SMU. Those two opponents are toward the end of our preseason schedule. We will approach those games and use them as preparation heading into conference play."
The Islanders will kick-off their season Saturday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. against Missouri in the Dugan Wellness Center.
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