CENTRAL ARKANSAS (11-5, 4-1 SLC) AT TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (1-15, 0-5 SLC)
*PLEASE NOTE THE EARLIER START TIME*
THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team remains at the American Bank Center to host Central Arkansas on Saturday, Jan. 19. The Islanders are looking for its first conference victory of the season while Central Arkansas just dropped its first conference game of the season on Thursday. The Islanders are coming off a 58-41 home loss to Oral Roberts on Thursday.
Saturday's game will mark the seventh meeting between the two teams. The Islanders have the 4-2 all-time series advantage and are 2-1 when playing the Sugar Bears in Corpus Christi. The Islanders have dropped the last two meetings between Central Arkansas but won the first four prior to that.
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.
Central Arkansas enters Saturday's game with an 11-5 record, including a 4-1 record in SLC play while the Islanders are 1-15 and 0-5 in the SLC.
• Senior Imani Dunn paced the Islanders vs. Oral Roberts on Thursday with a career-high 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc in her first start of the season.
•The Islanders led at the half for the fifth time this season, but the Golden Eagles' second-half play edged the Islanders. The Islanders are 1-4 when leading at the half.
•The Islanders outrebounded Oral Roberts 42-30 and notched the 16-8 bench advantage, behind Dunn's and Blount's play.
•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.
•Blount leads the team with 9.4 points per game, which ranks 18th in the Southland Conference.
•Coach Chadwick has used seven different starting lineups this season. On Thursday, he used the starting lineup of Ashley Darley, Imani Dunn, Jessica Jammer, Ashanti Plummer and Verne'qua Taylor for the first time this season.
SCOUTING CENTRAL ARKANSAS
The Sugar Bears and Islanders will meet for the seventh time in program history. The Islanders lead the all-time series 4-2.
The last time the Islanders and Sugar Bears met up was in Conway, Ark. on March 3. The Islanders took an early seven-point lead in the first half but saw their lead evaporate as the Sugar Bears went on a 14-2 run and never looked back sealing a 66-45 victory. Alisa Roberts and Verne'qua Taylor paced the Islanders in double-figure scoring with 11 points apiece. Prior to that, the Sugar Bears sealed an 85-66 victory on March 5, 2011, in Corpus Christi.
Central Arkansas has won four out of its last five games. The Sugar Bears are coming off their first conference loss of the season. Central Arkansas dropped a 64-48 road loss to Sam Houston State on Thursday. Central Arkansas has Southland Conference victories against Nicholls State, Southeastern La., Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern State. The Sugar Bears also have victories against Philander Smith, ULM, Southern Arkansas, Central Baptist, Alcorn State, Southern Illinois and Oklahoma Wesleyan.
Central Arkansas is averaging 64.9 points per game behind 2012 SLC Player of the Year Megan Herbert's 18.6 points per game and Courtney Duever's 13.2 points per game. Herbert leads the boards with 11.1 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.
A DUNN DEAL
Prior to Thursday's game, senior Imani Dunn was averaging just 0.4 points per game in 4.7 minutes per game. Against Oral Roberts, the veteran made her first season start and gave the Islanders a spark, scoring the first seven points for the Islanders. She also tied a career-high three from behind the arc in a career-high 32 minutes.
Jessica Jammer has powered the Islanders' offense in conference play. She is second in scoring with 7.7 per game and has registered five double-figure scoring games this season. She leads the team with 5.8 rebounds per game, which is good for a tie for 14th place in the SLC.
BE BLUNT ABOUT IT
Freshman guard Janae Blount is leading the Islanders with 9.4 points per game which is good for 18th in the SLC in scoring. She has scored in double figures in seven of the 16 games this season and has made starts in nine of the 16. The Washington, D.C. native scored a career-high 21 points vs. Auburn and tied her career-high four three-pointers at the 26th Annual Omni Hotels Classic in Boulder, Colo. to earn a spot on the All-Tournament team.
Ashley Darley has made starts in 12 of the 16 Islanders' games. She is third on the team with 6.8 points per game in 27.2 minutes per game. She has also chipped in a team-high 26 steals, which is good for seventh 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. She led the team with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting at Lamar.
Right behind Darley is Alisa Roberts who is fourth on the team with 5.8 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 24 assists and has started in 11 of the Islanders' 16 games this season. Marquesha Anderson-Sparks has been strong this season from the charity stripe with a .750 percentage (21-of-28). The junior made her first season start at Lamar.
LEADING AT THE HALF
The Islanders took a 23-22 lead at the half vs. Oral Roberts on Thursday behind the team's 53.8 percent shooting from the field. It was the fifth time this season the Islanders headed into the locker room ahead. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is 1-4 when leading at the half.
The Islanders' bench outscored Oral Robert's bench 16-8. Janae Blount led the bench with seven points while Brandi Huff chipped in five.
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. Darren Brunson also made his Islanders' coaching debut this season as the Islanders Assistant Coach. Geoff Grawn is in his 11th season on the Islanders' staff as an assistant coach.
The Islanders will travel to Thibodaux, La. to take on Nicholls State on Thursday, Jan. 24. Tipoff is slated for 5:30 p.m.