ORANGEBURG, S.C.- The North Carolina A&T women's basketball team saw its winning streak come to an end at six games with a 68-57 loss to S.C. State on Saturday afternoon at the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.
The Aggies (16-8, 8-3) struggled to get their offense started against the Bulldogs (14-7, 6-4). The Bulldogs shot 62.8 percent in the game, the best an opponent has shot against the Aggies this season. A&T shot just 37.3 percent from the floor in the contest.
"The stats show it. They shot 62 percent from the field, 50 percent from the three, and 82 percent from the free throw line. I thought we didn't do a good job of defending them," said A&T head coach Tarrell Robinson. "They were able to do a better job guarding the ball and trapping."
The Aggies have not lost by double figures since dropping a 58-39 contest at Virginia Tech on Dec. 28.
Redshirt freshman Eboni Ross, a native of Columbia S.C. led the team with 15 points and four blocks while playing in front of a large contingency of family and friends. Senior JaQuayla Berry added 10 points and a team-best eight rebounds. The Bulldogs had four players record double-figures, led by 15 from Kourtney Williams and 14 from Ashley Clarke.
"We just couldn't get over the hump," Robinson added, noting that the team missed several layups and had some untimely turnovers in the contest. "I thought in the first half we settled for the three. We went 1-for-11, instead of being aggressive and attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line like we did in the second half."
The Bulldogs, who led by 10 at the half, went on an 11-2 run to start the second half. Sophomore Jessica Lyons hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 17 with 10 minutes remaining in the game. The shot helped to jumpstart the A&T offense.
"Jess, you can count on her to get after it and get on the floor and go after loose balls. She ignited the rest of them," said Robinson.
A layup by Ross cut it to a 13-point deficit five minutes later, and two Tracy King free throws made it an 11-point game. A&T eventually got to within nine on an Adriana Nazario 3-pointer, but there was only a little more than two minutes remaining. The Aggies never got any closer.
The Aggies had a short lead in the first half, but the Bulldogs offense got hot. A 3-pointer from redshirt junior Amber Calvin gave the Aggies their first lead at 10-9 with 13:51 left. The Aggies took a 14-9 lead as Ross made a layup after stealing the ball, to cap off a 7-0 run by the Aggies. Kourtney Williams got a 3-pointer from the corner to put the Bulldogs in front 15-14. S.C. State didn't give up the lead from that point on.
"I think they wanted to play. I just don't think that mentally they gave the effort," Robinson said of his team. "I don't think they took this team for granted."
The Aggies will travel to Savannah State to take on the Tigers at 6 p.m. at Tiger Arena on Monday.
"We've got to bounce back. We've got to play on Monday. This hurts, but we've got to get over it quickly. We've got a quick turnaround," Robinson said.