WBB Wins Eighth Straight With More Smothering Defense
GREENSBORO (January 31, 2018) – North Carolina A&T State women’s basketball remained unbeaten in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play after a second-half rally lifted them to a 53-51 win over Norfolk State Wednesday in the Corbett Sports Center. Senior Kala Green finished with a game-high 14 points and sophomore C’Coriea Foy scored 10 as the Aggies won their eighth consecutive game. N.C. A&T committed a season-low 10 turnovers but struggled from behind the arc on 1-of-15 shooting from 3-point range.
The Aggies (12-7, 7-0 MEAC) won their eighth straight game overall, their fifth straight game at home and their win keeps them tied for first-place in the conference with the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.
The high scoring duo of Green and Foy registered their 13th double-digit performances of the season. Green had nine of her 14 points in the second half while Foy scored most of her points out in transition. Sophomore Alexus Lessears had her sixth double-figure rebounding game finishing with 14 against the Spartans (12-7, 5-2 MEAC) and added three blocks and two steals. Sophomore Shantell Bostick led the bench surge with eight points, three rebounds and three assists.
“It is starting to be the same old song, the same old movie,” said N.C. A&T coach Tarrell Robinson. “We struggled offensively and solely relied on our defense to win games. We forced 25 turnovers and shot the ball 19 more times than them. We had our hands on the ball a lot more but did not take advantage of it the way I liked to, but it was another great defensive effort and I am super proud of these young women.”
N.C. A&T took a 40-38 lead into the fourth. Green scored the Aggies first six points of the quarter. A pair of free throws by Lessears made it a five-point cushion at 48-43.
The Aggies held a 50-47 lead until NSU’s Khadedra Croker scored and drew a foul with 27 seconds remaining. The potential game-tying free throw bounced off the rim for the Spartans and they were forced to foul. In the final moments, the Aggies turned to Green to seal their victory. With 11 seconds remaining, Green made her first free throw but missed the second and yet she secured the offensive rebound forcing the Spartans to foul again. She went to the line and made both free throws to give the Aggies a 53-49 lead.
“I challenged them, I thought defensively we did a good job,” said Robinson. “It is never about if we are hitting shots, we just have to make sure that our opponents aren’t hitting more shots than we are and that was key.”
The Aggies entered the second quarter trailing the Spartans 16-10. Green paced the Aggie scoring with five points and opened the period with a 3-pointer. Green then found Foy on a backdoor layup trimming the Spartans advantage to three, 18-15. A jumper by senior Quenswayla Story cut it to one and then sophomore Cinia McCray split a pair from the charity stripe to tie the game at 18 at the 7:25 mark.
Norfolk State responded with a 3-pointer of their own shortly after. A&T’s defensive pressure came alive at the midpoint of the quarter after a block and defensive rebound by Lessears turned into a layup for Bostick with the Aggies trailing 23-22. On the next A&T possession, Bostick drew a foul and tied the game up for the second time of the period making 1 of 2 free throws. Norfolk State went on a 6-0 run over the next two minutes jumping out to a 29-23 lead with 2:53 left.
The Aggies scored 11 points off 13 first-half NSU turnovers. Green’s steal and fast break layup with two minutes until halftime was followed by a McCray steal and a put back by sophomore Le’on Hill trimmed the Aggie deficit to 29-27 at the half. Six different Aggies scored in the third period as their defense held the Spartans to 2-for-13 shooting. With 13-seconds to go in the third, Green won a loose ball battle and passed it ahead for a Bostick layup at the buzzer.
“We found a way to stay undefeated, and it does not get any easier with Hampton coming on Saturday,” said Robinson. “We will enjoy this win tonight but tomorrow will focus on the Pirates.”
NSU’s Raven Russell finished with 11 points and Kendrea Dawkins added 10 points off the bench. N.C. A&T plays Hampton (9-11, 5-2 MEAC) 2 p.m., Saturday at Corbett Sports Center.