CORPUS CHRISTI (Islanders Athletics) - For the third time in conference play, the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's basketball team lost by single digits, falling to Stephen F. Austin 58-51 on Saturday in the American Bank Center.
Once again, Jasmine Shaw led the way offensively for the Islanders (8-7, 1-3 in Southland Conference play), hitting 7 of her 13 shots for 19 points. No other Islanders were able to post double digits on the night.
However, two SFA (10-6, 4-0) players were able to score in double figures, as Brittney Matthew had three treys en route to 16 points, while Tierany Henderson had 15 points with most of them coming via her four threes.
On the night, a team that averages just 28.8 percent from downtown, the Ladyjacks went 10-of-21 (47.6 percent) from behind the arc to propel them to the win.
On the flip side, A&M – Corpus Christi was only able to connect on five threes on 18 attempts, and shot just 33.9 percent from the field overall.
It was a nice looking basket that got the Islanders on the board first, as Ashley Darley caught the ball at the right elbow and drove all the way to the bucket for a contested layup to put the Islanders up 2-0 in the opening minute.
SFA came right back to get a pair of layups, before Brandi Huff knocked down two free throws to bring the game back to a 4-4 tie with 17:05 left to play.
Henderson got to the line for the Ladyjacks as well after both teams went on a scoreless drought of more than two minutes. However, she only hit one to put SFA up by one.
After Shaw scooped up the second missed free throw by Henderson, she hit a three on the Islanders' offensive end to put the home team on top 7-5 at 14:28.
A minute and a half later, Taryn Gregory recorded a steal and took it coast to coast for the layup. Camesha Davis then drove the ball hard to the bucket at the 11:25 mark to open up an 11-5 lead for the Islanders.
However, the Ladyjacks came right back, to hit their first three after missing their first five attempts. They then picked up a free throw and a layup to finish of a 6-0 run and tie the game at 11 with 8:41 left to play in the half.
The Islanders came right back to go on a 6-0 run of their own, though, to open up another six-point lead. Unfortunately, SFA continued to stroke it from the outside with back-to-back triples to tie the game yet again. This time at 17 with five minutes left to play in the half.
Brittany Mbamalu answered the SFA three-point barrage with a shot from way behind the arc to put the Islander back on top by three. However, the Ladyjacks hit another triple, as well as a layup to cap off a 13-3 run to go up 24-20 at 3:28.
Just like she has done so many times, Shaw had the answer, hitting her second three of the night, which subsequently put her in the record books. The three gave Shaw her 42nd three of the year to move her to 10th in three pointers made in a season for the Islanders. The three also cut the lead back to one, making it 24-23 with 1:25 left to play in the first.
A drive to the hoop for a bucket extended the SFA lead back to three, but a pair of free throws by Lexy Harris after she got fouled following an Islanders' steal made it a tight 26-25 Ladyjacks' lead heading into the half.
Through the first 20 minutes of play, the Islanders held Porsha Roberts, the Southland's sixth leading scorer without a point.
Shaw got the scoring started just seconds into the final 20 minutes of play, as she hit a jumper to put the Islanders back up 27-26.
Only eight points were scored over the next 6:18, and SFA found itself up by one before another three went for the Ladyjacks to go up 34-30 with 13:25 left.
However, Shaw came right back to hit consecutive layups to tie the game up at 34, before Henderson hit a pull up jumper after forcing a turnover. Another Matthew three then opened the lead back up to five for SFA.
Huff hit a jumper in the paint after gathering up a missed three by Mbamalu, but it kept raining from deep for the Ladyjacks. This time it was Henderson with another triple to extend the lead to six for SFA — its biggest of the evening at that point.
After a timeout by head coach Royce Chadwick to gather the team, Mbamalu answered with a three to cut the lead in half, making it a 42-39 game with 9:17 left to play.
Four points by Huff and a layup by Darley closed out an 8-2 run for the Islanders to tie the game up at 44, marking the seventh tie of the game.
Then, with 5:32 on the clock, Huff scooped up an offensive rebound and put it home to put the Islanders back on top for the first time in more than 11 minutes.
The lead would not last long though, as less than a minute later Matthew hit her third three pointer of the night to put the Ladyjacks back up 47-46 with 4:48 left on the clock.
Shaw responded with a three of her own, to give her 43 on the season to tie her for ninth most in a season for any Islander, and to more importantly put A&M – Corpus Christi back on top by two.
However, at the 3:27 mark, Roberts finally found the scoring column with a pair of free throws to tie the game at 49.
Following a missed three by the Islanders, Henderson came out to hit her fourth three of the game, as well as SFA's sixth of the half on 10 shots from deep, to put the Ladyjacks up by three. Roberts then picked up her first field goal of the game to make it a 54-49 SFA lead with 1:36 left in the game.
Once again, Shaw had the answer with a jumper to pull the Islanders within three. However, A&M – Corpus Christi was unable to score any more points, dropping another tight game, allowing SFA to escape with a win.
The Islanders will be back on the road next week, as they head to McNeese State for a 5:30 p.m. game on Thursday, followed by a 1 p.m. matchup against Nicholls on Saturday.