College basketball: Westbrook hits milestone as Islanders sweep doubleheader

The experience and leadership on the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's basketball team could be underscored by Alecia Westbrook crossing the 1,000-point plateau in her career in Saturday's 78-61 Southland Conference win against McNeese. The Islanders moved to 13-7 and more importantly 8-1 at the midpoint of the conference schedule.

But it was cemented by what Westbrook and Makinna Serrata, herself closing in on the scoring milestone, said after the game.

"It was great, and there are a lot of amazing people that have reached that goal, but I am just glad we got the team win tonight," Westbrook said of her 18-point night that made her the 11th member of the 1,000-point club at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

The two were a part of the Southland Conference championship squad in 2020, as well as the team that fell short of the regular season title last season and were ousted in overtime in the conference tournament.

In 2020 Dalesia Booth and Emma Coleman-O'Bryan each scored their 1,000th point on the Islanders way to 23 wins. Now it is Westbrook and Serrata that are the veteran leaders for A&M-Corpus Christi and the two know what to expect in the marathon that is the 18-game Southland Conference schedule.

And they will remind the team that they have to keep their feet on the gas pedal even while riding a five-game win streak.

"Every game is new and we have to regroup and lock in, because every game is going to be different," Westbrook said.

"You can't underestimate any person on this team or any team in this conference," Serrata added. "They are all really good, have great players. We all have to play together to keep our win streak going against these good teams."

A&M-Corpus Christi is alone in first place as it heads to Louisiana for two road games next week, at New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana, the only team to beat the Islanders in conference this season.

The Islanders saw more even play at the American Bank Center this week after needing huge fourth quarter rallies to claim road victories at Lamar and Houston Christian.

Royce Chadwick said he hopes that consistency carries over for his team as it aims to improve on its 4-0 road start in league play.

"It is January and nobody remembers what you do in January, and nobody forgets what you do in March," Chadwick said. "We've got to keep playing. It is a marathon and we are really, just out of the gate. You have to keep fighting and have to show grit. We have a long way to go."

Cowboys' Johnathan Massie blocks Islanders' Terrion Murdix during the game at the American Bank Center on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Cowboys' Johnathan Massie blocks Islanders' Terrion Murdix during the game at the American Bank Center on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Islander men continue home dominance

While the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women have marched to the top of the Southland thanks in part to their unbeaten mark on the road, the Islanders men have scuttled on the road.

This week's homestand was just what Steve Lutz ordered as the Islanders bounced back from a two-loss road swing with a perfect week at the American Bank Center.

After rallying past Nicholls on Thursday, no second-half surge was needed by the Islanders on Saturday, holding off the McNeese charge a few times in an 83-72 win.

The Islanders men hit the midway point at 6-3 in conference, in a three-way tie for second place in the Southland behind Southeastern Louisiana.

Lutz's team saw improvement defensively this week, in part because it has not been fouling at the clip it did before Thursday.

The Islanders were whistled 13 times on Saturday, helping the team overcome an early large rebounding deficit to the Cowboys.

"We've been more disciplined," said Isaac Mushila, who had 23 points and eight rebounds to lead the Islanders. "We talk about it every time. We have to execute, be disciplined and not to foul and send them to the free-throw line."

Terrion Murdix set a program record with 15 assists Thursday against Nicholls and added nine more Saturday, adding to the scoring surge he showed early in conference play. Trevian Tennyson had six 3-pointers and continued his strong shooting from long range.

Lutz said success on the road comes back to playing better defensively.

"From a record standpoint, it is disappointing to have three losses at this point," Lutz said. "Hopefully we've learned from those mistakes. Our mistakes came on the defensive side of the ball and that has been our staple here. We've got to continue to focus on each and every game and get better defensively. If we can do that, hopefully by the time we get around to March we will be peaking at the right time."

This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: Westbrook hits milestone as Islanders basketball sweeps doubleheader