EDINBURG, Texas – Junior Ashley Darley registered 17 points but a strong second half by Texas - Pan American was too much for the Islanders in a 77-65 loss on Tuesday night at UTPA Fieldhouse.
Darley paced the Islanders (0-1) with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting and added five steals and five rebounds. Freshman Janae Blount added 13 points, her second straight game of scoring in double figures. The Broncs (1-2) were powered by three players in double figures, led by Bianca Torre's 23 points.
The Broncs took the opening tip before the Islanders passed it inside for two buckets to take an early 4-2 lead. After trading baskets, UTPA went on a 5-0 run before the Islanders built a three-point cushion on a 6-0 run. After back-to-back buckets by the Broncs, the two teams traded baskets back-and-forth before Jessica Jammer pushed the Islanders ahead by one. UTPA's Torre triggered her second three of the game before Morgan Schwartz evened the score at 18-18 with 7:31 left in the first half.
The Broncs tied it once again at 20-20 with a jumper by Ce'Monay Newell. Darley and Alisa Roberts followed with jumpers just inside the arc to put the Islanders back in front, 24-20. A trey by the Broncs' LaQuita Garner trimmed Texas A&M - Corpus Christi's lead to one with 2:30 to play. The Islanders surged to an eight-point lead at the half after putting together a 7-0 run by Marquesha Anderson-Sparks and Jammer. Anderson-Sparks answered inside with a three-point play and added two from the charity stripe before dishing it inside to Jammer for a layup to end the half.
The Islanders took their biggest lead of the half into the locker room, 31-23, on 41.9 percent shooting from the field. Darley shot 4-for-6 percent from the field to lead the team with eight points and Anderson-Sparks added seven, including a perfect 5-for-5 from the charity stripe. The Islanders outrebounded the Broncs 21-18. There were nine lead changes and five ties in the first half.
Blount opened the second half with a three-pointer but UTPA gained momentum on a 14-5 run to knot the score at 37-37 with 16:30 to play. The Broncs took their first lead of the second half at the 16:16 mark after Torre triggered the teams' third three of the half. Brandi Huff cut the lead to two after a made free throw but UTPA built a 12-point cushion on a 7-0 run before Darley hit a jumper inside the arc to trim the Broncs' lead to 10. After trading baskets, UTPA's Alexandra Hill triggered back-to-back treys and Joyea Marshall added a layup to give the Broncs' their biggest lead of the game, 60-42.
After trading free throws, Hill sank her third three pointer of the second half to push the Broncs ahead by 20. The Islanders went on a 8-0 run with 6:31 to play to pull within 12. After a three-point play by UTPA, Darley triggered the Islanders' second three of the game. After a Broncs' bucket, Taryn Gregory and Blount hit back-to-back layups and Darley followed with a put back to trim UTPA's lead to eight with 1:44 to play. After trading free throws, the Broncs added a layup and free throw and never looked back to claim their first victory of the season 77-65.
Blount, Jammer, Darley, Gregory and Ashanti Plummer got the starting nod for the Islanders.
The Islanders will remain on the road for a Friday contest between former Southland opponent UTSA on Nov. 16 in San Antonio. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.
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