CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's basketball team already eclipsed its win total from last year, picking up its fifth win of the season with a 68-54 win against Texas-Pan American on Sunday in the American Bank Center.
A strong performance in the second half led to the Islanders win, as they trailed by three heading into the final 20 minutes of play, but outscored the Broncs 37-20, including a 32-9 run, to finish out the game. In the second half, the Islanders shot 46.2 percent from the field opposed to 20 percent for UTPA.
Jasmine Shaw had a bounce-back game after scoring just seven combined points in the last two games. She only had five in the first half, but was strong down the stretch with 12 in the second half to give her a game-high 17 points. She also added six rebounds and six assists.
For the fourth consecutive game the Islanders outrebound their opponents, snatching up 47 boards opposed to the Broncs 36. A&M – Corpus Christi got a big lift on the glass with Lexy Harris playing a significant amount of minutes after battling injury as of late. She snagged a career-high nine rebounds on the afternoon.
Shaw got the scoring started for the Islanders, knocking down a fastbreak layup after a Broncs turnover. Mbamalu then continued the hot start for the home team, knocking down a jumper in the paint followed by a deep three to go up 7-0 just 1:30 into the half.
However, the Broncs went on an 8-3 run to pull within two of A&M – Corpus Christi. A pair of free throws by Huff extended the Islanders' lead back to four, but a turnover by Gregory caused a UTPA fastbreak layup to make it 12-10 at the first media timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Broncs hit a free throw to pull within one, but Alissa Campanero hit a three in her first offensive possession of the game to make it a 15-11 game with 14:23 left in the half.
The Islanders then hit a cold streak over the next three minutes though, and the Broncs jumped out to their first lead of the game with a 7-2 run to put them ahead 18-17.
With UTPA up by two at the 8:23 mark in the half, Kassie Jones picked up her first points of the game with a jumper off of an inbound play to tie the game at 21.
A few minutes later, the teams found themselves deadlocked for the fifth time of the game, as Campanero hit her second three of the game to tie it at 28 with 4:13 left in the first 20 minutes of play.
The Broncs took the lead back on a free throw, but Huff knocked down a jumper in the paint to give the Islanders a one-point lead with 1:47 left in the half. The lead would not last long though, as the Broncs inbounded the ball quickly and came down the court in a hurry and were able to hit a wide open three to go back up two.
In the final minute of play, UTPA went 1-of-2 from the line twice, while the Islanders did so once to result in a 34-31 lead heading into halftime.
It was a somewhat lucky start to the second half for the Broncs, as a crazy bounce off of a shot from downtown managed to go in to put the visitors up by six. However, the Islanders found a rhythm offensively, as some tremendous passes led to easy buckets for them, leading to a 15-2 run for A&M – Corpus Christi. This run put the Islanders up 46-39 with 13:51 left to play in the game.
Both teams then went cold over the next 2:48, but Shaw knocked down a three to put the Islanders up by double digits. However, just 10 seconds later, the Broncs hit a three of their own to make it 51-44 with 9:57 left to play.
A Mbamlu three would extend the Islanders lead back out the 10, but A&M – Corpus Christi did not stop there, scoring the next nine points to cap of a 32-9 run over a span of 13:24. This gave the Islanders a 63-44 lead with 5:10 left to play.
The lead then was extended even more, as Camesha Davis hit a layup despite getting fouled and then hit the free throw to put A&M – Corpus Christi up by 20 with 4:18 left after trailing by six early in the half. Up until that point the Broncs had only knocked down three field goals in nearly the first 16 minutes of the half.
The Islanders only scored two points in the final four plus minutes opposed to UTPA's eight, but the lead was too big for the Broncs to overcome and A&M – Corpus Christi came away with the 68-54 win.
The Islanders will now be off for the next 10 days to focus on finals before they have a two-game roadtrip to Texas Southern and UT-Arlington on Dec. 19 and 21, respectively.