CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — For the first time in Southland Conference history, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's and women's basketball enter the season both predicted to win the league.
"It's great that they picked us as number 1, but now we've got to prove it," said Alecia Westbrook, Islanders senior forward and center. "We have a lot of talent on this team and we just got to figure out how we're going to put it all together so we can win games and win championships."
Last season, the women finished second in the conference behind Houston Christian University. The Islanders bring in five new players and return Alecia Westbrook, the Dave Campbell All-Texas Defensive Player of the Year, and Makinna Serrata, who scored the second most in the conference.
"She (Westbrook) had like eight double-doubles last year. Outstanding rebounder. Wonderful power forward," said Royce Chadwick, Islanders women's basketball head coach and Southland Conference's winningest coach. "Makinna Serrata is the Southland Conference women's basketball athlete player of the year, but we've got some very good players returning and some very good nucleus girls that are going to be a part of our team that our first year players."
The women finished last season undefeated at home (14-0) for the first time in program history, and their focus is...
"Definitely pushing the ball and defense. We work defense every single day in practice," said Westbrook. "That's one of Chadwick's most important things for us to understand."
The men's squad is coming off a conference tournament title and NCAA First Four March Madness appearance.
Plus, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi program as a whole advanced at least five sports to the NCAA tournament.
"That just says to me says a lot about the president of the university, Dr. Kelly Miller, Jon Palumbo the athletic director and just the culture that we've established here," said Steve Lutz, lslanders men's basketball head coach. "It's a culture of winning but also winning the right way."
The women's team starts their 2022-23 season schedule with an exhibition game on Halloween. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. against Huston-Tillotson at the Dugan Wellness Center. Then the Islanders are on the road for their official opener at Texas Tech.
The men's squad open up their season schedule on the road at Mississippi State on Monday, Nov. 7. Then they're back home on Friday, Nov. 11 against UTSA in the Dugan. Then Monday, Nov. 14 the Islanders face Trinity at the American Bank Center and that's when the men's team receives their Southland Conference Tournament rings.