STEPHEN F. AUSTIN (5-8, 0-2 SLC) AT TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (1-11, 0-1 SLC)
THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team returns to the American Bank Center Monday to host Stephen F. Austin in the Southland conference home opener. The Islanders and Ladyjacks are both looking for their first conference victory. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is coming off a 65-46 road loss to Sam Houston State in the first conference game of the season.
Monday's game will mark just the second Monday contest this season and the 14th meeting between the two teams. The Ladyjacks hold the all-time 11-2 series advantage. Last season, Stephen F. Austin swept the series, 69-57, in Nacogdoches and 72-60 in Corpus Christi.
Head Coach Royce Chadwick is in his first year as the Islanders' Head Coach. Chadwick, who spent the previous 11 years at the helm of the Marshall University program, has 562 wins on his collegiate coaching resume. Chadwick is looking for his first SLC victory since winning the SLC title with SFA in 2001.
Stephen F. Austin enters Monday's game with a 5-8 record, including a 0-2 record in Southland play. The Ladyjacks are coming off a 74-57 home loss to McNeese State and a 65-50 home loss to Lamar on Thursday.
•Jessica Jammer led the team for the third straight game with 12 points at Sam Houston State on Jan. 4. Prior to that, she tallied 14 points at TCU.
•The Islanders and Ladyjacks will meet for the 14th time in program history. SFA has swept the last two meetings. The Islanders' only two victories against SFA came in 2005 at home, 75-62, and in 2004 at home in overtime, 72-69.
•The Islanders' bench outscored the Bearkats' bench 18-10 and scored half of their points in the paint.
•The Islanders also committed fewer turnovers than the Bearkats.
•Texas A&M - Corpus Christi's first victory of the season came before the holiday break on Dec. 18 vs. Cornell, 52-49. The team snapped a 10-game losing streak dating back to the last season and marked Coach Chadwick's first victory at the helm.
•Coach Chadwick is familiar with Stephen F. Austin, having coached the Ladyjacks for seven seasons (1994-2001). He tallied a 153-44 record and earned seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances and won six of seven regular-season SLC titles and SLC Tournament titles. Chadwick was named the Southland Coach of the Year in 1997.
•Blount leads the team with 10.3 points per game, which ranks 15th in the Southland Conference.
•The Islanders are 4-2 in Southland Conference home openers.
•Coach Chadwick has used four different starting lineups this season. At Sam Houston State, he used the starting lineup of Ashanti Plummer, Alisa Roberts, Jessica Jammer, Verne'qua Taylor and Taryn Gregory for the second time this season.
SCOUTING THE LADYJACKS
The Ladyjacks and Islanders will meet for the 14th time in program history. Stephen F. Austin has the 11-2 advantage in series history.
Last season, the Ladyjacks topped the Islanders 69-57 in Nacogdoches. The Islanders saw a 14-point first half lead evaporate, as the Ladyjacks fought their way back in the second half to seal a 69-57 victory at William R. Johnson Coliseum. Alisa Roberts led the Islanders with 17 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 from behind the charity stripe and three from behind the arc. Verne'qua Taylor scored 10 points and tallied six rebounds and eight assists. Taylor scored 10 of the Islanders 22 second half points and Roberts tallied seven of them. In the second meeting, the Islanders led by four at the half and three Islanders tallied double-figure scoring efforts, but Stephen F. Austin's second half outburst topped the Islanders 72-60 at the Dugan Wellness Center. Roberts powered the Islanders' offense with 15 points and Imani Dunn registered a career-high 10 points. The Islanders shot 44 percent from the field to the Ladyjacks 41.7 but SFA came up big on the glass tallying 40 boards to the Islanders 29.
The Ladyjacks have dropped six of its last seven games, including four on the road. SFA is coming off two home conference losses to McNeese State and Lamar. The Ladyjacks have victories against La.-Monroe, Prairie View A&M, Northwood, CSU Bakersfield and Tulsa.
SFA is averaging 62.8 points per game behind Porsha Roberts' 12.3 points per game and Antionette Carter's 8.9 points per game. Roberts leads the boards with 7.5 rebounds per game.
The Islanders were picked to finish eighth in the Southland Conference Coaches' Poll after finishing with a 5-11 conference record last season.
Jessica Jammer has powered the Islanders' offense in the last three games. She is second in scoring with 7.8 per game and has registered four double-figure scoring games this season. She leads the team with 5.6 rebounds per game, which is good for a tie for 17th in the SLC.
BE BLUNT ABOUT IT
Freshman guard Janae Blount is leading the Islanders with 10.3 points per game in a team-high 27.2 minutes per game. She is 15th in the SLC in scoring, 13th in three-point field goal percentage and is tied for 10th in steals. She has scored in double figures in seven of the 12 games this season and has made starts in seven of the 12. The Washington, D.C. native scored a career-high 21 points vs. Auburn and tied her career-high four three-pointers.
Ashley Darley has made starts in eight of the 11 Islanders' games. She is third on the team with 7.2 points per game in 17.5 minutes per game. She has also chipped in 19 steals, which is good for 12th place in the SLC.
Darling recorded a season-high 17 points at UTPA and grabbed a season-high seven rebounds vs. Auburn. She also scored 12 points in both games against Colorado and Auburn in the Omni Hotels Classic. She netted a game-high 14 points vs. UTPA and chipped in four of the Islanders' season-high 18 steals.
Right behind Darley is Alisa Roberts who is who is fourth on the team with 6.7 points per game. The senior tallied a season-high 16 points vs. Texas State.
Last season's Southland Conference assist leader Verne'qua Taylor brought back her old ways vs. Texas State with a season-best eight assists. She followed that performance with six assists vs. Cornell. Taryn Gregory has dished out 21 assists and has started in 11 of the Islanders' 12 games this season. Marquesha Anderson-Sparks leads the team at the charity stripe with a .857 percentage (18-of-21).
Royce Chadwick is the fourth coach in Islanders' history to make his debut on the sidelines. He holds 562 wins on his collegiate coaching resume and seven NCAA Tournament bids. Chadwick is familiar with the Southland Conference after coaching stints at Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State. Chadwick was named the Southland Coach of the Year in 1997. He has 28 years of experience coaching women's college basketball and four career wins in the NCAA Tournament.
Roxanne White joins Chadwick on the sidelines as the Islanders' Associate Head Coach. White served on Chadwick's staffs at Marshall and Stephen F. Austin. White was Marshall's recruiting coordinator for all 11 years she was at the school and was the associate head coach for 10 of those seasons. The Stephen F. Austin alumna was an assistant for Chadwick for five years at SFA and also spent a year with Texas A&M.
Darren Brunson also made his Islanders' coaching debut this season as the Islanders Assistant Coach. Brunson comes to the Island University after spending the past two years as the associate head coach and team's recruiting coordinator at Texas Southern. Geoff Grawn is in his 11th season on the Islanders' staff as an assistant coach.
The Islanders will continue Southland play on Thursday, Jan. 10, when they travel to McNeese State to take on the two-time defending conference tournament champion. Tipoff is slated for 5:30 p.m. and will be televised on Southland TV.