No. 5 Islanders eleiminate No. 4 Privateers women, 88-77, in SLC Tournament

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BOX SCORE

Randi Brown leads four Privateers in double figures offensively with 21 points as New Orleans finishes 14-15

KATY, Texas – Everyone loves a good comeback story, but sometimes the clock runs out before the effort can be completed. That was the case for the University of New Orleans women’s basketball team on Friday afternoon at the 2017 Southland Conference Tournament as the fourth-seeded Privateers dropped an 88-77 decision to No. 5 seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the league quarterfinals in the Leonard E. Merrell Center.

Down 22 at 70-48 with 1:28 to play in the third quarter, UNO refused to go away quietly and 14-0 run over the next 3:34 to whittle the deficit down to eight. The Privateers got to within six at 74-68 on a layup by sophomore center Shania Woods with 4:58 to play and again at 81-75 following a pair of free throws by junior guard Randi Brown at the 56-second mark, but the Islander hit seven-of-eight free throws the rest of the way to secure the victory.

In defeat, New Orleans concluded the season 14-15 – the highest win total for the program since going 14-17 in 2008-09. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, meanwhile, improves to 14-17 overall and advances to take on top-seeded Central Arkansas on Saturday at 1 p.m.

“It was a hard-fought game,” UNO head coach Keeshawn Davenport said. “Texas A&M [Corpus Christi] did a swell job while playing their second game. We knew it was going to be a fight. This is the time of the season that you put records and anything that has happened previously away, and everybody is 0-0. To their credit, they came out strong. We finished strong, but they came out strong. Nevertheless, I’m super proud of my team because they’re amazingly persistent and they didn’t give up.

“These young ladies have fought like that every day. You don’t come into a game and fight back from a 20-plus point deficit without doing that every day in practice. One thing that we always talk about is persevering through the tough times. In a college basketball game, tough times will come. Tough times will come in life. They did a good job of pushing through today and not giving up no matter what.”

As a team, the Privateers connected at a .380 clip (27-of-71), including a 3-of-15 performance from beyond the 3-point arc (.200), while the Islanders were 25-of-55 from the field (.455) while shooting 53.8 percent from downtown (7-of-13). New Orleans was whistled for 28 personal fouls and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi took advantage by converting 31-of-39 free throws. UNO had just 13 turnovers to the Islanders’ 20, but five of the Privateers’ miscues came in the opening six-plus minutes and that allowed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to race out to a 20-6 advantage.

Brown led four UNO players in double figures offensively with 21 points, followed by Woods with 17, senior guard Jewel Angelo with 16 and junior guard Kayla Mundy with 10. Woods paced the Privateers with eight rebounds, sophomore guard Danielle Wright tallied a game-high marks of five assists and seven steals, and Brown had both of the team’s blocked shots.

“Throughout the whole game, we were telling each other to just keep our heads up,” Brown said. “We knew we had three people to play for, and that was Jewel [Angelo], Ariele [Davis] and Raven [Coleman] – our three seniors. That’s what kept us in the game and kept us going so that we could cut the lead as much as we did. Even though we didn’t come out with the desired outcome, I really feel that everything is working in God’s plan. When you look at my freshman season…we didn’t even dream of getting this far. Even though we only made it to the [quarterfinals], there’s much more in store for us.”

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi took control of the game early on as the Islands hit their first three field goals and scored 14 of the contests first 16 points. The first-half advantage swelled to as many as 17 twice midway through the second half and the Islanders went into the locker room on top, 42-28.

The two teams traded points early in the second half and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi took its largest lead of the game at 56-34 on a Brittany Mbamalu 3-pointer with 5:53 to play in the third quarter. UNO answered with a 10-1 rally to make it a 13-point contest only to see the Islanders respond with a 13-4 run which Mbamalu capped with another trey to make it 70-48 to set up the Privateers rally over the final 11-plus minutes.

“There are no losers here,” Davenport added. “We didn’t run out of gas. We just ran out of time. I figure if we would have gotten five more minutes, we would have been interviewing first [as the winning team] instead of second.”

Kassie Jones led Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with a game-high 26 points while Mbamalu added 22 and Dalesia Booth added 13. Camesha Davis fell one point shy of a double-double with nine points to go with a game-best 11 rebounds. Booth paced the Islanders with four blocks and share the team lead in steals with Mbamalu with three thefts apiece. Booth, Jones and Davis each had a pair of assists.

NEW ORLEANS QUOTES FOLLOWING THE PRIVATEERS’ 88-77 LOSS TO TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI

Head Coach Keeshawn Davenport

Opening Statement
“It was a hard-fought game. Texas A&M [Corpus Christi] did a swell job while playing their second game. We knew it was going to be a fight. This is the time of the season that you put records and anything that has happened previously away, and everybody is 0-0. To their credit, they came out strong. We finished strong, but they came out strong. Nevertheless, I’m super proud of my team because they’re amazingly persistent and they didn’t give up.”

On the Privateers’ comeback effort
“These young ladies have fought like that every day. You don’t come into a game and fight back from a 20-plus point deficit without doing that every day in practice. One thing that we always talk about is persevering through the tough times. In a college basketball game, tough times will come. Tough times will come in life. They did a good job of pushing through today and not giving up no matter what.”

On what Texas A&M-Corpus Christi did early on to take control of the game
“I wouldn’t necessarily say they did anything to throw us off, but they out more aggressive and they came out attacking. With 39 free throws for the game, that’s an aggressive team and they capitalized off of that. When you look at the stats after the first half, that was the difference. They just came out a little more aggressive than us.”

On what the Privateers did to get back into the game
“It was all about our intensity and making sure we had the right crew out there who could push the ball and get us some quick hitters. At times, we went with a four-guard lineup and one post so that we would have a little more quickness out there. Another adjustment that we made that really helped us was we jumped to a zone, which is uncharacteristic of us. When you have some players with foul trouble and they were being so aggressive, we had to take some of the penetration away by jumping to the 2-3 zone. Those adjustments helped us some.”

Closing statement
“There are no losers here. We didn’t run out of gas. We just ran out of time. I figure if we would have gotten five more minutes, we would have been interviewing first [as the winning team] instead of second.”

Junior Guard Randi Brown

On what the Privateers were able to do to keep focused after falling behind by a sizeable margin
“Throughout the whole game, we were telling each other to just keep our heads up. We knew we had three people to play for, and that was Jewel [Angelo], Ariele [Davis] and Raven [Coleman] – our three seniors. That’s what kept us in the game and kept us going so that we could cut the lead as much as we did. Even though we didn’t come out with the desired outcome, I really feel that everything is working in God’s plan. When you look at my freshman season…we didn’t even dream of getting this far. Even though we only made it to the [quarterfinals], there’s much more in store for us.”

On if the team may have tired down the stretch
“Everybody fought. Our sophomore point guard, Danielle Wright, came off the bench with so much energy. She’s really been our defensive force – getting steals, forcing turnovers. She played a really big part on the defensive end and everyone was keeping her engaged and involved. I know that at the end, she really started feeling it. We had to keep everyone together. I don’t feel that we ran out of gas, we just ran out of time.”

Senior Guard Jewel Angelo

On the progress the team has made during her time at UNO
“We’ve made major progress. We’ve just been believing in the process, and we’ve built love and trust for each other. We’ve become closer as a team while buying into the process. They need to just keep believing.”

On the team fighting its way back into the game
“We just kept fighting and kept telling each other, ‘We can do this. We’re going to be here tomorrow.’ We just kept telling each other words of encouragement and to believe no matter what.”

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Richie Weaver

Richie Weaver

Director of Athletic Media Relations, University of New Orleans

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