NORTHWESTERN STATE (9-15, 5-9 SLC) AT TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (3-21, 2-11 SLC)
THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team will return home to the American Bank Center for a three-game homestand starting on Tuesday, Feb. 19 against Northwestern State. It will be the first meeting between the two teams this season and eighth time in program history. The Islanders are coming off a road split over the weekend, after clinching a 60-58 overtime victory over Central Arkansas on Thursday and an 81-59 loss to league-leading Oral Roberts on Saturday.
The Islanders are undefeated at home against the Lady Demons and have the 6-1 series advantage after sealing an 88-86 home victory last season over the Lady Demons. Northwestern State has dropped two of its last four contests and enters Tuesday's game with a 9-15 record, including a 5-9 record in SLC play while the Islanders are 3-21 and 2-11 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 563 wins on his collegiate coaching resume.
•The Islanders picked up their second straight conference victory on Thursday. Taryn Gregory's free throw with 3.7 seconds remaining in overtime lifted the Islanders to their biggest conference victory of the season.
•It was the Islanders' first overtime game since a 76-72 loss to Southeastern La. on Feb, 25, 2009.
•The Islanders were paced by three players in double-figure scoring. Ashley Darley and Gregory led the Islanders with 12 points apiece.
•All nine Islanders that saw action in Thursday's game finished in the scoring column.
•The Islanders' bench outscored Central Arkansas' bench 28-4 and Oral Roberts' bench 23-17. The Islanders' bench has outscored eight of its last nine opponents.
•The Islanders led at the half on Thursday for the eighth time this season. The squad is 2-6 when leading at the half.
•Darley tallied her second straight double-digit scoring game on Saturday with a game-high 27 points, just two shy of matching her career high.
•Darley leads the team with 8.7 points per game. She also leads the Islanders in conference play with 9.8 points per game.
•Coach Chadwick has used 14 different starting lineups this season. On Saturday, he used the starting lineup of Janae Blount, Ashanti Plummer, Ashley Darley, Taryn Gregory and Verne'qua Taylor for the first time this season. 10 of the 12 active Islanders have started at least two games this season.
SCOUTING THE LADY DEMONS
The Lady Demons and Islanders will meet for the eighth time in program history and first this season in Southland Conference play. The Islanders lead the series 6-1.
The last time the Islanders and Lady Demons met up was on February 4, 2012 at the American Bank Center. Myeisha Myles' winning shot with 2.4 seconds lifted the Islanders to an 88-86 victory. The squad was powered by four players in double-figure scoring in a game that featured 13 ties and 19 lead changes.
The Lady Demons have dropped two of its last four games. Northwestern State is coming off a 67-50 road loss at Nicholls State and a 66-60 road loss at Southeastern La. The Lady Demons are on a three-game road trip. Northwestern State is averaging 53.4 points per game behind Jasmine Upchurch's 12.3 points per game and Keisha Lee's 11.0 points per game. Jasmine Bradley leads the boards with 6.3 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.
Ashley Darley has made starts in 17 of the 23 Islanders' games and leads the team with 8.7 points per game (25th, SLC) in 19.4 minutes per game. She has chipped in a team-high 38 steals apiece (9th, SLC).
Darling recorded a career-high 29 points vs. Sam Houston State and grabbed 11 rebounds. She posted a game-high 27 points at Oral Roberts, including 9-of-11 from the charity stripe. She scored 11 points and a season-high 12 rebounds vs. Lamar. Prior to that she tallied 17 points at UTPA and grabbed seven rebounds vs. Auburn. She also scored 12 points in both games against Colorado and Auburn in the Omni Hotels Classic. She chipped in four of the Islanders' season-high 18 steals. She led the team with 12 points at Lamar and at Central Arkansas.
Jessica Jammer has powered the Islanders' offense in conference play. She is second on the team in scoring with 8.0 per game (28th, SLC) and has registered six double-figure scoring games this season. She is also second on the team in conference play with 8.5 points per game. Jammer leads the Islanders glass with 5.2 rebounds per game, which is good for 18th place in the SLC.
BE BLUNT ABOUT IT
Freshman guard Janae Blount is third on the team with 7.9 points per game which is good for a tie in 29th place in the SLC in scoring. She has scored eight 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.
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 the charity stripe.
Right behind Darley is Alisa Roberts who is fourth on the team with 5.6 points per game. The senior tallied a season-high 16 points vs. Texas State.
Last season's SLC assist leader Verne'qua Taylor brought back her old ways vs. Texas State with a season-best eight assists and matched it vs. Lamar. She leads the team with 75 assists (3.1 per game, 10th, SLC).
Taryn Gregory recorded a season-high 12 points at Central Arkansas including a free throw with 3.7 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Islanders to victory. Marquesha Anderson-Sparks has been strong this season from the charity stripe with a .745 percentage (35-of-47). The junior made her first season start at Lamar and started against UCA where she went 7-for-8 from the free throw line.
The Islanders' bench has outscored eight of its last nine opponents. The Islanders notched the 23-17 bench advantage at Oral Roberts and the 28-4 bench advantage over UCA. Prior to that, the Islanders posted a 31-11 bench advantage over McNeese State and a 31-17 bench advantage vs. Sam Houston State. The Islanders also outscored Oral Roberts' bench 16-8 and followed it with a 21-13 bench advantage vs. UCA.
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.