SAM HOUSTON STATE (11-9, 7-1 SLC) AT TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (1-18, 0-8 SLC)
THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team will return home to host Sam Houston State at the Dugan Wellness Center on Friday, Feb. 1 in the second half of Southland Conference action. The Islanders are looking to snap a string of eight conference losses and bounce back from a 65-46 road loss to the Bearkats earlier this season. The Islanders are coming off a 66-54 road loss to Southeastern La. on Thursday while Sam Houston State leads the league with a 7-1 record.
Friday's game will mark the 18th meeting between the two teams. The Islanders have the 12-5 all-time series advantage and are 6-2 when playing the Bearkats in Corpus Christi. Sam Houston State enters Friday's game with an 11-9 record, including a 7-1 record in SLC play while the Islanders are 1-18 and 0-8 in the SLC.
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.
•Jessica Jammer powered the Islanders with a season-high 22 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field on Saturday at Southeastern La.
•On Thursday at Nicholls State, Taryn Gregory paced the Islanders with a season-high nine points.
•For the fourth straight game, the Islanders had contribution from their bench. On Thursday at Nicholls State, the Islanders' bench notched the 23-21 advantage and on Saturday the Islanders' outscored the Lady Lions' bench 10-8.
•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.
•Janae Blount leads the team with 8.5 points per game, which ranks 22nd in the Southland Conference. Jammer leads the Islanders in conference play with 9.3 points per game.
•Coach Chadwick has used 10 different starting lineups this season. On Saturday, he used the starting lineup of Imani Dunn, Brandi Huff, Jessica Jammer, Verne'qua Taylor and Taryn Gregory for the first time this season. 10 of the 12 active Islanders have started at least two games this season.
SCOUTING THE BEARKATS
The Bearkats and Islanders will meet for the 18th time in program history. The Islanders have the 12-5 advantage in series history.
The Islanders opened the conference season against the Bearkats on Friday, Jan. 4. The Islanders cut an early deficit to one with five minutes to play in the first half but Sam Houston State's Britni Martin tallied 26 points to lead the Bearkats to a 65-46 victory. Jammer led the Islanders with 12 points while Alisa Roberts and Ashley Darley each chipped in seven points. Last season, the Bearkats topped the Islanders 65-56 in the Dugan Wellness Center.
Sam Houston State has won eight of its last nine games, including seven in conference play. The Bearkats have only dropped one conference game and that loss came on the road at McNeese State. The Bearkats sit at the top of the SLC rankings with a 7-1 record. Sam Houston State is coming off a 70-63 road victory at Nicholls State and a 58-53 road victory at Southeastern La. Sam Houston State is averaging 62.8 points per game behind Martin's 17.4 points per game and Sequeena Thomas' 13.7 points per game. Thomas leads the boards with 12.7 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
At Nicholls State, Imani Dunn tallied eight points all in the first half, including 2-for-4 from behind the arc in her third start of the season. Prior to that, the senior made her first season start vs. Oral Roberts 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. At Southeastern La., Dunn tallied six points going 6-for-8 from behind the arc.
Jessica Jammer has powered the Islanders' offense in conference play. She is second in scoring with 8.2 per game and has registered six double-figure scoring games this season. She leads the team with 5.4 rebounds per game, which is good for 19th place in the SLC. The senior leads the Islanders in conference play with 9.3 points per game.
BE BLUNT ABOUT IT
Freshman guard Janae Blount is leading the Islanders with 8.5 points per game which is good for 22nd in the SLC in scoring. She has scored seven double-figure scoring games this season. 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 14 of the 19 Islanders' games. She is third on the team with 6.2 points per game in 17.2 minutes per game. She along with Jammer have chipped in a team-high 26 steals apiece, which is good for a tie for 13th 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 and seven at Nicholls State.
Taryn Gregory has dished out 29 assists and has started in 12 of the Islanders' 19 games this season. She tallied a season-high nine points at Southeastern La. Marquesha Anderson-Sparks has been strong this season from the charity stripe with a .775 percentage (31-of-40). The junior made her first season start at Lamar and started against Central Arkansas where she went 7-for-8 from the free throw line.
The Islanders' bench has outscored its last four opponents. The Islanders notched the 16-8 bench advantage vs. Oral Roberts and followed it with a 21-13 bench advantage vs. Central Arkansas. On Thursday, the Islanders' bench outscored Nicholls State's bench 23-21 and on Saturday, the Islanders' outscored the Lady Lions' bench 10-8.
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 host Lamar on Thursday, Feb. 7 in the Play4Kay Pink Game at the American Bank Center. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m.