Facing one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country this Wednesday, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi held Abilene Christian to 26.9% from deep, while coming within a single possession of earning a victory on the road. The Islanders' 61-59 defeat at the hands of ACU moves their Southland record to 3-4 on the year, while their overall stands as 10-8.
A three from Brittany Mbamalu and a layup from Dae Dae Evans would push Corpus Christi out to a 5-0 lead to start the night's contest in Abilene. In a career-night for the point guard, Evans played a pivotal role for the Islanders from start to finish, recording a team-high 10 points in the opening half alone. The Bellaire, Texas native performed on the defensive side of the ball as well, tallying a pair of steals in the opening quarter of play, as the Islanders recorded five robberies in the opening 10 minutes.
Trailing 15-13 into the second quarter, the Blue and Green would stay within two possessions of the home team for the entirety of the first half. Entering Wednesday's affair, the Wildcats ranked 13th in the country with over nine three-pointers per contest, however Corpus Christi would keep ACU's high-flying offense quiet through the first 20, with just three field goals from deep.
Frustrating the Abilene offense, the Islanders would still have to make up a 29-26 deficit coming out of the halftime break, trailing in the rebounding category 23-12. The Blue and Green would have a difficult time finding points in the third, despite a pair of field goals from starters Uri Jolivette and Kre'Ana Henry. The Wildcats lead would reach as high as 10 points during the period, and it would not be until seven minutes remaining in the contest that the Islanders would claw back to within striking distance.
Evans would again put the team on her back in the fourth quarter, hitting four-of-eight shots for nine points, and a career-high 19 for the night. Corpus Christi would prove dominant in the post during the final 10 minutes, outboarding their opponents 25-20 and outscoring the Wildcats 14-8 in the paint.
After falling back behind 59-50 with under a minute remaining, the Islanders would continue to trade punches with ACU, hitting three of their last five shots on the evening and forcing a pair of turnovers in the concluding 47 seconds. The Blue and Green would pull within four of the Wildcats late, but solid free throw shooting and a lack of remaining time would force the Islanders to take the loss by a single possession, 61-59.
The Islanders held ACU to 61 points on the night, despite the side scoring more than 74 points on average this season
Dae Dae Evans' career-high of 19 points was accompanied by five rebounds and three steals, just a week after she recorded a personal best eight assists
Dalesia Booth's four steals tied the career-high she set against Texas Lutheran earlier this year, as the Blue and Green recorded 10-plus robberies for the fifth time this year (11)
Corpus Christi received some productivity from its bench on Wednesday, outscoring ACU's subs 15-14 on the night
Earning a career-high 18 minutes, freshman Giana Wright hit the first three of her career against Abilene while finishing with four points and a board
COMING UP NEXT
The Islanders stand to host Houston Baptist and Southeastern Louisiana to close out January, starting with a Saturday matchup against the Huskies. The Blue and Green look to take the all-time series lead against HBU, as the two teams are currently 5-5 when playing one another.
The Islanders recent matchup with ACU, along with all road contests, can be listened to live via the Islander Digital Network, powered by AEP Texas. Their coming contest against Houston Baptist will be broadcast live by ESPN3, the first ESPN sponsored game for Corpus Christi this season.