It was unlikely that the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi basketball teams would go undefeated in a Southland Conference game despite their 3-0 start, including two road wins.
But that did little to alleviate what happened Thursday at the American Bank Center as Southeast Louisiana moved up to Corpus Christi and swept the islanders.
The Islanders’ women never made any progress, struggling to score and get anywhere offensively after poor practice earlier in the week took its toll on the game.
It took A&M-Corpus Christi 20 points in the fourth quarter to score 46, narrowly avoiding a season low in a 53–46 loss to Southeast Louisiana, the first Southland Conference home loss since 2021.
There was too little flurry in the final 10 minutes, too late, and even with the Islanders crawling within screaming distance of the SLU, the Lions hit when it mattered to prevent a retaliation.
“We didn’t do a very good job when we got open shots, knocking them down and getting up confidently,” said Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women’s team coach Royce Chadwick. “We were not blocked to start the game. We lost our temper and they scared us and we didn’t do what we were supposed to do… We were down all night and could have given up but they kept fighting and fighting.
“We have a team with a very strong character, and they showed it with their efforts. The southeast side beat us on both sides of the court and landed a big shot just in time.”
Jaeda Whitner was one of the few offensive sparks, hitting 3-of-4 three-pointers for the Islanders, who struggled, shooting 18-of-60 from the floor, backed up by 9-18 shots in the final frame.
Guard Vio Verano said the focus will be on making the most of their opportunities from the start of the game, with the team facing New Orleans at the American Bank Center in less than 48 hours after falling from first place in the conference.
“From the very beginning, the South East played better than us, and we just need to start obsessing over (and not relying on) a comeback,” Verano said. “We can’t wait until the fourth quarter. We have to fixate.”
Paige Allen led the team with 13 points, while Alicia Westbrook made another double-double but was limited to 12 points. Just like from the floor, A&M-Corpus Christi did not do well from the line, making 6 attempts out of 11.
For the Islanders men, it wasn’t a slow start, it was that they were unable to hold onto their first 20 minutes for the duration in an 85–82 overtime loss.
“I think we did a good job in the first half,” said head coach Steve Lutz. “We played with intensity, we played with effort, endurance and toughness. In the second half, we neglected the defensive side of the ball and relied on the attack. We did not use our opportunities. Our team.
“We have to be ready to play 40 minutes.”
Early in the second half, A&M-Corpus Christi opened up a 43-29 lead before the Lions roared back with brilliant shooting after the break.
Southeastern landed 21 of 31 shots after halftime, including a perfect 4 of 4 in overtime.
The Lions forced overtime on Alec Woodard’s deep contested 3-pointer and nearly won in regulation time when Jalen Jackson went the length of the floor only to have his teardrop from the layup miss the top hat. SLU scored the first five points in the extra session and never lost a comeback victory.
Lutz said the team discussed fouls and sending Southeast to the line instead of allowing a three-point game to decide.
“We talked about this in the previous timeout and I should communicate better with the guys, giving them direction as the game unfolds to the very end,” Lutz said.
The Islanders had five double figures, led by Terrion Merdix with 19 points and eight assists, and Trevian Tennyson’s 18, all from beyond the arc.
A&M-Corpus Christi made 12 triples in the loss, but Tennyson’s attempt to equalize late in overtime was misguided.
The setback marked the first home defeat of the season for the Islanders men, who, like the women, have been near-unbeatable at home for the past two seasons.
Teams will see if they can restore that aura on Saturday when UNO comes to the American Bank Center for a doublehead.
“UNO is coming to town as one of the most athletic teams in the league,” Chadwick said of the Privateer Women. “They will press, they will run throwing threes. “
Lutz said the men need to flip the switch and not let Thursday’s defeat affect the team on Saturday.
New Orleans will play loud basketball and train hard,” Lutz said. “They’re going to come back and try to turn us around. We must change our minds and move on to the next game. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result we wanted, but we can’t let the outcome of tonight affect Saturday.”