BOCA RATON, Fla. (December 29, 2018) –North Carolina A&T could not get its offense going in time to win the Florida Atlantic University Post Christmas Tournament as Yale took the title 59-49 in women’s basketball Saturday afternoon at FAU Arena.
The Aggies (3-10) were playing for the title after defeating host FAU on Friday behind junior Cinia McCray who had 26 points. McCray was excellent again against the Yale Bulldogs as she finished with 21 points and three steals on 7-for-14 shooting. It is the first time in her career she has had back-to-back 20-plus point games. Junior C’coriea Foy added 10 points.
But the Aggies had a hard time keeping the game close in the second quarter because their shots did not fall. The Aggies were just 4-for-22 from the floor in the first quarter but trailed only 17-10 as senior Charnise Tyler closed the opening period with a layup off an assist from junior Mikaya Wilson. But after junior Le’on Hill scored on a layup setup by a Foy steal and Wilson assists to bring the Aggies to within five at 17-12, N.C. A&T connected on just one other field goal in the second quarter.
Yale (10-5) used N.C. A&T’s iciness to take a 28-14 lead on a Gabby Nelson 3-pointer with four minutes remaining in the first half. McCray gave the Aggies their first field goal in nine minutes when she scored in transition off a pass from freshman Rayven Peeples to send the Aggies into the locker room trailing 28-16 at halftime.
N.C. A&T found their rhythm offensively in the second half led by McCray who had seven points in the third quarter on 3-for-4 shooting. Freshman Taya Jones cut the Bulldogs lead to 36-30 thanks to a 3-pointer with 4:17 remaining. McCray ended the quarter by getting fouled on a jump shot. McCray’s And-1 put the Aggies down 42-35 going into the fourth quarter.
The Aggies had six total field goals in the first half, they had eight baskets in the third quarter alone.
Tori Andrew moved the lead back to double figures for Yale in the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer from Alex Cade. The Aggies struggled to make a dent into the Bulldogs lead. McCray did earn a steal and transition layup to cut the Aggies deficit to 54-47 with three minutes to play. But Yale scored on an And-1 as Megan Gorman was fouled by Foy on a layup. Gorman hit the free throw for a 57-47 Yale advantage with two minutes to play.
Gorman’s play all but ended N.C. A&T’s hopes of a rally. Yale was led by Roxy Barahman’s 18 points and 14 rebounds.
The Aggies now enter conference play starting with a road game against S.C. State on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. In fact, the Aggies first three conference games are on the road with games at Delaware State (Jan. 12) and Maryland Eastern Shore (Jan. 14). The Aggies will try to defend their regular-season and tournament MEAC titles as the new year begins.