Aggies Lose to NCCU, Long Winning Streak Snapped
GREENSBORO (March 2, 2017) – North Carolina A&T women’s basketball closed out the regular season with a loss to rival N.C. Central, 58-54, at Corbett Sports Center on Thursday. They head into next week’s MEAC tournament 12-17 overall and 8-8 in the MEAC. The Aggies will go into the 2017 MEAC Basketball Championship Tournament as the No. 7 seed and will play 10th-seeded NCCU, Tuesday at 2 p.m., at Norfolk Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.
The Aggies split with the Eagles this season, winning in Durham but losing Thursday night. The Aggies are the defending MEAC champions, but will have their lowest seed in the tournament since being a seventh seed back in 2005. On Saturday, the Aggies endured their first loss to the Eagles since Jan. 19, 2002, a string of 14 straight wins over the heated rival. The Eagles got their first win over the Aggies as an MEAC member. Aliyah Kilpatrick and Dana Brown led the Aggies with 13 points apiece and Alexus Lessears and Quenswayla Story each finished with nine rebounds.
After a roller coaster performance throughout the game offensively. Despite outrebounding the Eagles 45-33 with 17 offensive boards to complement their dominance on the glass, the put backs were hard to come by for N.C. A&T. The Eagles took advantage of 19 Aggie turnovers while also netting eight 3-pointers. The Eagles built their lead to nine, 48-39, by the end of the third quarter and opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer by Rodneysha Martin. But the Aggies managed to finish with their strongest quarter of the game from the floor in the fourth, going 6-for-13 to chop into the Eagles lead.
The Eagles held their largest lead of the game a 54-41 with 5:56 remaining in the game. The Aggies scored the next seven points capped off by a Kilpatrick 3-pointer to close the lead to 54-48 with 2:10 to play. After two NCCU free throws, Story took a pass from Kilpatrick just beyond the free throw line and netted a jumper to push the lead back down to six. Lessears then took a Story pass deep in the low post and scored to cut the lead to 56-52 with 58 seconds remaining. Dana Brown kept the pressure on by hitting two free throws to get the Aggies to within two, 56-54. NCCU increased their lead to 57-54 on a free throw from Paulina Afriyie who missed her second shot, giving the Aggies an opportunity to tie the game with a 3-pointer. But Brown’s game-tying attempt fell short, giving the Eagles the win.
For the second straight game against the Eagles, the Aggies got off to a slow start. The Eagles (8-20, 7-9 MEAC) scored the first seven points of the game and led 13-2 at the 4:03 mark of the first quarter. N.C. A&T took their first lead of the game, 17-16, on two Story free throws with 5:54 remaining in the first half. It ended what was a 9-0 run for the Aggies to start the second quarter. Two Brown free throws send the Aggies into the locker room down 26-25.
N.C. A&T will go after its fourth MEAC tournament title and the program’s first back-to-back tournament championships.