NORFOLK, Va. – A balanced scoring attack which placed five players in double figures helped the second-seeded North Carolina A&T women’s basketball team knock off No. 7 Bethune-Cookman 78-46 in a quarterfinal matchup at the MEAC Tournament at Scope Arena, on Wednesday afternoon.

The Aggies (24-5 overall) advanced to the semifinals where they will face the winner of the No. 3 Coppin State/No. 11 UMES game on Friday, March 14 at 2:30 p.m.

Redshirt junior Debbie Smith led A&T with 15 points and tallied three assists.

A&T’s post players were dominant in Wednesday’s game where the Aggies outscored the Wildcats 40-24 in the paint behind the efforts of redshirt sophomores Aprill McRae and Eboni Ross. Ross was a flawless 6-for-6 from the field and finished with 12 points while McRae also added 12 on 5-for-7 shooting. Ross also grabbed six rebounds and recorded a block.

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Redshirt sophomore Christina Carter added 11 points and dished out five assists, along with three steals. Junior Ariel Bursey recorded 10 points, six rebounds, and five assists. The Aggies also did a great job of spreading the ball around as they recorded 19 assists on a 30-for-65 (46.2 percent) shooting performance.

From the tip, A&T set the tone of the game as it leaped out to a 29-8 run at the 6:45 mark. By this point the damage was done but B-CU (12-18) halted the run with a jumper from Kara Redmon just moments later.

However the Aggie’s unwavering defense combined with an offense that was led behind McRae’s 10 points in the first half alone allowed A&T to take the 38-21 lead at halftime.

The Aggies extended their lead to 58-31 with a three from Smith with 11:05 in the game. Smith and McRae traded roles in the second half, as the Aggies found some of their spark in Smith who finished with 11 points in the second half. A jumper from Deja Gibson cut B-CU’s deficit to 58-35 which was the closest it’d get to A&T’s lead for the remainder of the game.

A&T’s defensive also scored 21 points of 21 turnovers and beat B-CU on the glass 45-32.

Alea Godfrey finished with a game-high 16 points for the Wildcats as Houtson Taylor finished with 10 rebounds.