Aggies Nearly Pull Off Upset, Lose to UGA
GREENSBORO (December 14, 2017) – Behind a 3-point bombardment from senior guard Kala Green, the North Carolina A&T women’s basketball team nearly pulled off one of the most significant wins in program history. Instead, the Aggies had some miscues down the stretch and the Georgia Bulldogs, from one of the most prestigious conference in the country, the SEC, came away with a 73-63 win over N.C. A&T at Corbett Sports Center Thursday night.
Green finished with a career-best 23 points on a career-high six 3-pointers. She was 7-for-13 from the floor. Quenswayla Story was the only other Aggie in double figures with 10. The Aggies also had their best showing of the season in terms of taking care of the basketball. They posted 18 assists and had a season-low 11 turnovers. Unfortunately for the Aggies, three of those turnovers occurred over the final critical four minutes of the game.
“We had some crucial turnovers, some defensive breakdowns and one opportunity to take a charge that we didn’t do,” said N.C. A&T head coach Tarrell Robinson as he recounted the closing minutes of the game. “Those small things end up adding up because it was a one-point game and the next thing you know it’s an eight-point game.”
A Green 3-pointer tied the game at 51 with 7 ½ minutes to play. Green was not finished being a major problem for the Bulldogs. She netted another three, three minutes later to pull the Aggies to within one, 57-56. Georgia’s Maya Caldwell responded quickly with a three, but by this time Green was in the middle of her heat check. Green took a laser pass from sophomore C’Coriea Foy and connected on a 3-pointer to bring the Aggies to within one, 60-59, for the last time.
“I just hope she is like this the rest of the year,” Robinson said about Green’s performance. “I’ve been hard on Kala, and I admit that. It’s because the type of night she had tonight is not a surprise to me. I wish she would do the things necessary, so we can see that type of performance every day.”
UGA did answer Green’s three by scoring the next three points to take a 63-59 lead with 2:24 to play. N.C. A&T, however, was not finished with their threat of an upset. Sophomore Le’On Hill hit a short jumper to bring the Aggies to within two. But the Bulldogs put together a 7-0 run at them most inopportune time for the Aggies. UGA’s Cailya Robinson hit back-to-back layups, the latter coming off a N.C. A&T turnover. After a Bulldogs free throw, another Aggies turnover led to two more throws from UGA’s Mackenzie Robinson as UGA took a 70-61 lead with 24 seconds remaining.
“We just made some bad decisions,” said Robinson. “I don't fault the people who made the decisions. They were trying to do something to help us win the game. “But it does go back to practice. It goes back to preparation.”
Robinson was not pleased with the Aggies two practices leading up to the UGA, but was pleased with their shoot-around on Thursday. He helped the Aggies come into the game with type of energy they needed for the upset. A young UGA backcourt also gave the Aggies confidence because they wanted to throw different looks at them to disrupt them. The Bulldogs had 18 turnovers and only 11 assists.
The Aggies looked like a confident team all night. Despite falling behind by eight in the second quarter, the Aggies closed the half on a 9-2 run to trail by only one at the half, 31-30. N.C. A&T overcame a 9-point deficit in the third quarter to make it a close game down the stretch.
Caliya Robinson and Taja Cole led the Bulldogs with 15 points apiece. Foy finished with a season-high seven assists. The Bulldogs came away with a 32-20 edge in the paint.
The Aggies return to Corbett noon, Tuesday, Dec. 19 as they take on the Catamounts from Western Carolina.