Women's Basketball Wins Third Straight
GREENSBORO (February 13, 2017) – North Carolina A&T held the lead the greater part of 29 minutes on Monday before losing the lead over the next six minutes of the game. The Aggies then rallied to retake control of a game they eventually won 66-54 over South Carolina State in women’s basketball action at Corbett Sports Center.
“Substitutions late were big for us,” said N.C. A&T coach Tarrell Robinson. “I tried to rely on our upperclassmen but at about the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter, I decided to put in our freshmen Cinia McCray and Shantell Bostick in the game while (freshman) Alexus Lessears was already in the game.”
Those three players along with graduate guard Aliyah Kilpatrick were spectacular down the stretch for an Aggies team with straight wins that improved them to 11-13 overall and 7-4 in the MEAC. After scoring a season-high 20 on Saturday, Kilpatrick’s encore performance was a 21-point outing that included four 3-pointers, three assists and two assists. Lessears recorded her first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds and McCray added 10 points. Meanwhile, Bostick executed the Aggies offense with efficacy as she recorded three assists and no turnovers.
“The season is winding down and I really want the team to finish strong. I got in the gym a little bit extra this week with one of our coaches and really took what she was teaching me and tried to incorporate it into my game,” said Kilpatrick. “I wanted to not only improve myself but also help my team. I guess I see the court a little differently than our underclassmen, so I’m trying to give them a little seniority and the extra push we need to win the game.”
Trailing the Bulldogs 50-45 in the fourth quarter, the tide started to turn for the Aggies as Kilpatrick took a pass from junior Kala Green to score on a 3-pointer. McCray drained a 3-pointer of her own from the top of the key to give the Aggies a 51-50 with 5:29 to go on the clock. SCSU’s Alexis Scott helped the Bulldogs regain the lead by going backdoor and catching a pass from Brittany Drumgoole for a layup. But the rebounding efforts of Lessears gave the Aggies the lead for good as she rebounded a Michelle Fitzgerald miss and scored for a 53-52. McCray then added a steal and fast-break layup to the board to move the Aggies further ahead at 55-52 with 4:13 remaining.
The Aggies went on a 11-2 run from there to close out the game. “Shots fell which picked up our defense and we were able to stretch the game. South Carolina State came in with a great game plan and really attacked us. We have to do a better job defensively guarding, and we will,” said Robinson. “Bottom line, it came down to substitutions. We have (fifth-year senior) Dana Brown and Kala Green who are our upperclassmen and have been there, done that in terms of winning a championship, but I decided to give our freshmen a shot and it worked out.”
Despite struggling from the floor in the first half, the Aggies only trailed for 106 seconds over the first 20 minutes. The Aggies led by as many as eight in the first half, 22-14, on a Kilpatrick 3-pointer. Bostick ended the first half by grabbing a defensive board and racing to the other end of the floor for a layup and a 28-23 halftime lead.
Bryeasha Blair led the Bulldogs (5-18, 2-10 MEAC) with 21 points. The Aggies have a couple days to recover before traveling to Howard for a 2 p.m., game at Burr Gymnasium on Feb. 18.