February 1, 2012

Taylor's Career High Leads Islanders Past Nicholls State, 70-63

CORPUS CHRISTI – Zoe Vega-Vega powered the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team (7-14, 3-5) with her third double-double of the season and Verne'qua Taylor tallied a career-high 20 points to lift the Islanders to a 70-63 victory over Nicholls State (11-10, 4-4) Wednesday night at the American Bank Center.

Taylor led all scorers with her seventh double-digit scoring game while dishing out six assists and tallying two steals in 36 minutes. Taylor is now seven assists shy of tying the Islanders all-time assists record for a junior. Vega-Vega led the glass with 12 rebounds and registered 14 points for the Islanders. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi took the lead with 14:36 to play in the first half and never trailed through the rest of the game.

The Islanders shot 44.4 (28-of-63) from the field to the Colonels 37.1 percent, while shooting 81.8 percent (9-of-11) from the charity stripe. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi outrebounded the Colonels 41-35. Sophomore Brandi Huff propelled the Islanders with seven of the Islanders 24 bench points.       

The Colonels were paced by four players in double-digit scoring, behind Sumar Leslie's 10 points and six assists. LiAnn McCarthy added 13 points, Alisha Allen tallied 11 and KK Babin chipped in 10.   

Nicholls State jumped out to an early 5-2 lead before the Islanders went on a 6-0 run to take an 8-5 lead with 16:24 to play in the first half. During the run, Taylor added two buckets and Vega-Vega added a put-back. Nicholls State responded with a 4-0 lead to take a one-point lead. Brandi Huff's jumper pushed the Islanders back ahead and Taylor added a layup to give the Islanders a 12-9 lead. After trading buckets Jessica Jammer scored her first bucket of the game to extend the Islanders lead to five.   

The Colonels went on a 5-2 run before Marquesha Anderson-Sparks triggered her first three of the game and Taylor pushed the Islanders lead to seven with a bucket in the paint. The two went back-and-forth until Anderson-Sparks tacked up another three from downtown to give the Islanders an eight-point cushion. Nicholls State went on a 7-1 run before the Islanders built their biggest lead of the game on an 8-0 run to lead 38-27 with two minutes to play in the half. McCarthy added a jumper before Vega-Vega's basket capped the halftime scoring.

The Islanders took a 40-29 lead at the half behind Taylor's 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. She also chipped in two assists and two steals. Vega-Vega powered the glass with seven rebounds and added six points. The Islanders shot 45.7 percent from the field in the first half and scored 14 points off of the Colonels 12 turnovers. Nicholls State was paced by Allen's eight points and McCarthy's seven points.  

Nicholls State gained momentum out of the locker room to cut the Islanders lead to five on a 6-0 run.  Alisa Roberts stopped the run with a layup and Taylor added two free throws before the Colonels pulled within two with a layup and-one from Allen and two free throws from Jasmin Hoskins. Vega-Vega followed with her first trey of the season and Taylor added a layup inside from Vega-Vega's dish. The two teams traded buckets back-and-forth before Huff's basket gave the Islanders a 55-46 lead at the 10:40 mark.

After a Colonel bucket, Taryn Gregory triggered her second three-pointer of the season to extend the Islanders lead to 10. The two traded baskets until Huff hit a free throw and the Colonels triggered a three followed by two free throws to cut the lead to six. Imani Dunn's layup pushed the lead to eight with 4:18 left to play. Babin added two from behind the stripe before the two went back-and-forth. Dunn's lay-in and Vega-Vega's second trey of the game capped the Islanders scoring and extended the Islanders lead to 11. The Colonels scored back-to-back layups to end the game.

The Islanders will return to the American Bank Center, Saturday, Feb. 4, for a matchup against Northwestern State at 7 p.m.