LAKE CHARLES, La. – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's basketball team fell to McNeese State 79-51 in Lake Charles, La., on Thursday.
The Islanders (8-8, 1-4 in Southland Conference play) ran into another team that stroked it from behind the three-point line, as the Cowgirls (10-6, 3-2) shot 52.6 percent from deep, compared to the Islanders making just 6-of-16 shots from long range.
Five out of the six threes came from Brittany Mbamalu, as she had a game-high 15 points. With the effort, she also passed Jasmine Shaw for threes made this season, giving her 44 to move her into ninth in threes made in a season for the Islanders.
McNeese's defense did a good job of shutting down the Southland's third leading scorer, as Shaw was limited to four points — her second lowest total of the season.
On the other side, the second-highest scorer in the conference, Allison Baggett, hit three of her five triples en route to a team-high 14 points for the Cowgirls. Three other players from McNeese joined Baggett with double digit scoring performances.
Out of the gate, both teams traded a pair of buckets, with Lexy Harris recording a layup after McNeese scored the first points of the game.
The Cowgirls went on to record the next eight out of 10 points off the power of two three pointers to extend their lead out to six.
A Shaw layup cut the deficit down to four, but McNeese then went on a 14-2 run over the next four minutes and 55 seconds to make it a 24-8 lead with 10:36 left in the half. Over that run, the Cowgirls hit four threes to start off 6-of-9 from behind the arc.
Taryn Gregory stopped the run with a jumper just outside of the lane to put an end to the run, but the Cowgirls came right back to go on another run. This time they scored 13 compared to the Islanders' five to push their lead up to 37-15 at 6:18, forcing head coach Royce Chadwick to use his third timeout of the half.
The timeout got the ship turned around a bit for the Islanders, as they went on an 11-2 run, including a pair of threes from Mbamalu to shrink the McNeese lead down to 14 with 1:21 left in the first.
Unfortunately, the Cowgirls went on to score the final five points to head into the half with a 44-25 lead.
McNeese made eight of its 12 attempts from downtown in the half. Coming into the game, the Cowgirls averaged just 26.4 percent from behind the arc. They also shot an even 50 percent from the field compared to the Islanders going just 11-of-32 from the field.
The Cowgirls kept the moment rolling into the final 20 minutes of play, scoring the first four points of the second half to open up a 48-25 lead with 18:55 to play.
Mbamalu picked up the first points for the Islanders in the second half with a three, and then Brandi Huff contributed a pair of layups to cut the lead back down to 16 with three minutes off of the clock in the second.
At the 8:50 mark, Mbamalu knocked down her fifth three of the game to put her all alone in ninth in single season threes made for the Islanders with 44. However, her team still trailed 61-42 at that point in the contest.
It was another run for McNeese, though, as went on a 14-3 run to go up 79-45 with 3:50 left to play.
The Islanders defense shut down the Cowgirls in the final few minutes, not allowing McNeese to score another point. However, A&M – Corpus Christi only scored six points over this stretch, leading to a 28-point loss. This comes after their first seven loses came by a combined total of 43 points, an average of a little more than six points.
The Islanders will have a chance to rebound quickly though, as they will head to Nicholls for a Saturday matchup with tip schedule for 1 p.m. in Thibodaux, La.