NICHOLLS STATE (16-10, 8-7 SLC) AT TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (3-23, 2-13 SLC)
THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team will play their final home game of the season Saturday, March 2, when they host Nicholls State on senior night. The Islanders are looking to snap a three-game losing streak. It will be the second meeting between the Colonels and Islanders this season and eighth time in program history. The Islanders are coming off a 72-68 home loss to Southeastern La. on Thursday at the American Bank Center and are looking to bounce back from a 70-53 road loss to the Colonels in January.
The Colonels currently sit in fifth place in the Southland Conference. The Islanders lead the all-time series at 4-3. Nicholls State is coming off two consecutive losses on the road and enters Saturday's game with a 16- 10 record, including an 8-7 record in SLC play while the Islanders are 3-23 and 2-13 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 led by four at the half, but were unable to hold off Southeastern La. in the second half, falling 72-68 Thursday at the American Bank Center.
•Gregory tallied a season-high 13 points and a career-high eight rebounds. Ashanti Plummer had a career night with nine rebounds and nine points.
•The Islanders' bench has outscored 10 of its last 11 opponents. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi outscored the Lady Lions' bench 32-25.
•Jessica Jammer leads the team with 8.3 points per game. She also leads the Islanders in conference play with 9.0 points per game.
•Jammer moved into fifth place in career blocks with 69.
•Coach Chadwick has used 15 different starting lineups this season. On Thursday, he used the starting lineup of Ashanti Plummer, Ashley Darley, Alisa Roberts, 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 NICHOLLS STATE
The Colonels and Islanders will meet for the eighth time in program history and second time this season in Southland Conference play. The Islanders lead the all-time series at 4-3.
The last time the Islanders and Colonels met up was on January 24, 2013. Taryn Gregory recorded nine points and three Islanders chipped in eight apiece but it wasn't enough as the Colonels were paced by three players in double figures to lift them to a 7-53 victory at home.
The Colonels have dropped their last two games, but prior to that won four straight. Nicholls State is coming off a 74-60 road loss at Sam Houston State and a 59-57 road loss to Lamar. Prior to that, the Colonels picked up victories against Central Arkansas, Southeastern La., Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern State. Nicholls State is averaging 65.0 points per game behind Alisha Allen's 14.8 points per game and KK Babin's 12.7 points per game. Allen along with Jasmine Scott lead the boards with 5.8 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 19 of the 25 Islanders' games and is second on the team with 8.2 points per game (30th, SLC) in 19.1 minutes per game. She has chipped in a team-high 39 steals apiece (10th, 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 leads the team in scoring with 8.3 per game (28th, SLC) and has registered seven double-figure scoring games this season. She also leads the team in conference play with 9.0 points per game. Jammer leads the Islanders glass with 5.1 rebounds per game, which is good for 20th place in the SLC.
BE BLUNT ABOUT IT
Freshman guard Janae Blount is third on the team with 7.8 points per game and has tallied 5.6 points per game in conference play this season. She leads the team with 29 three pointers.
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.
Alisa Roberts is fifth on the team with 5.8 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 85 assists (3.3 per game, 9th, SLC).
Taryn Gregory recorded a season-high 13 points vs. Southeastern La. and a career-high eight rebounds. At Central Arkansas Gregory sank 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 .750 percentage (39-of-52). 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 10 of its last 11 opponents. The Islanders notched the 32-25 advantage over the Lady Lions. Prior to that, the team tallied a 27-0 bench advantage over the Lady Demons and a 23-17 bench advantage at Oral Roberts. The Islanders posted a 28-4 bench advantage over UCA and a 31-11 bench advantage over McNeese State. The Islanders also outscored Sam Houston State's bench 31-17, 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.
The Islanders will travel to Northwestern State and SFA next weekend. First up is Northwestern State on Thursday, March 7. Tipoff is slated for 5:30 p.m.