Edinburg, TX – Mired in a back and forth game where there would lose their leading scorer midway through the first half, the University of Texas-Pan American Broncs fell just short against the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi lslanders 60-57.
The Islanders (2-4) were poised for a breakout performance after several quality outings, including close matchups with Nevada-Las Vegas, Houston, and Rice.
The Broncs (6-5) had hoped that to bounce back from a devastating defeat in their prior outing against the Big 12 powerhouse Baylor Bears. Despite solid defensive effort, their offensive struggles lingered allowing the Islanders to take control early.
“We just got outta sync,” said Bronc Coach Larry Tidwell, “they guarded us really good, and we came back and played hard. We gotta keep working, we have players that need to step up.”
UTPA’s hopes for a rally would take a serious hit around the 10:00 mark of the 1st half, as UTPA’s leading scorer Shawnte’ Goff was carried off the floor in a wheel chair, after an ugly collision under the basket.
With the Broncs down 24-12, Goff sustained pretty serious looking injury while driving to the basket from the left wing and making contact with a TAMUCC defender just outside of the circle.
She was called for the offensive foul, but it soon became clear that something far more worrisome then the suspect call was unfolding, as Goff lay writhing on the floor in pain.
Following a lengthy examination by the athletic training staff, Goff was carried from the floor, forcing Tidwell to examine how his team would regroup with the momentum piling up against them.
“It kinda hurt us a little,” said Broncs point guard T’ Ondria Nolen, “She’s our go to person. Each and Every one of us will have to step up now.”
With the defense holding strong, the Broncs offensive flood gates would open up at the 3:08 mark afterq uick three by Hildur Kjartansdottir sparked a 13-0 run to pull UTPA within 32-30 at half.
The second half would open much as the first had ended for the UTPA, allowing UTPA to extend their run to 33-10 and take a substantial 50-42 lead on a layup from Nolen at the 9:12 mark.
The tide would soon shift again, however as the Islanders came flooding back wave by wave and cut the deficit to just 54-53 with 1:50 left to play.
Without their leading scorer, and the presence of a skilled threat in the post, the Broncs offense would come up just short again, allowing the Islanders to out dueled them from the free-throw line for a 60-57 lead.
UTPA had one final look with :09 left, however freshman Tori Swain was unable to get a good off a good look, allowing the clock to expire.
“We had the play we wanted their at the end,” said Tidwell, “why are we passing the ball, why not go up and try to score it?”
In spite of the loss the Broncs had one of their best performances in the post from Brittany Bush, who amassed a staggering 8 blocks, the second highest single game effort in program history.
UTPA will get a week off before they take the floor next Sunday against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock.