EAST GREENSBORO (September 14, 2018)– North Carolina A&T women’s basketball is fully invested in winning Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournaments and regular seasons. If evidence is needed of this fact, take a look at their 2018-19 non-conference schedule.
N.C. A&T has released its latest schedule which includes four non-conference opponents who won 20 or more games last season. Four teams on the schedule reached the postseason.
“I am happy with the way our schedule came together,” said N.C. A&T coach Tarrell Robinson who enters his seventh season with a 122-67 (.646). “Every year it is our goal to provide a competitive and challenging non-conference schedule that will prepare us for conference play. We will be tested but in order to compete for another conference championship, we have to play teams who will prepare us for our MEAC schedule.”
The Aggies are not without clout. They enter the season seeking their third regular-season and MEAC tournament title in four seasons. They return eight players from last year’s team that won a share of the MEAC regular season along with the tournament title with their win over Hampton.
They were rewarded with an NCAA tournament appearance where they play a competitive game against No. 2 seed South Carolina before losing, 63-52 in Columbia. The Aggies entered the tournament after winning 19 of 20 games. They finished the season 23-9. After the Aggies went 15-1 last season in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, what may be particularly scary for N.C. A&T’s MEAC foes are that none of their returning eight players are seniors.
“Our core group last year were sophomores and now they are juniors that have a championship under their belt,” said Robinson. “This schedule gives them an opportunity to build on our success from last season.”
Robinson and his crew open the season with three straight home games that include the Aggies season-opener against Morehead State 5:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 9 at Corbett Sports Center. The Eagles went 21-11 last season and finished fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference. Home contests against Akron (Nov. 13) and Division II Winston-Salem State (Nov. 16). They get the University of Virginia on Nov. 20. The Wahoos finished second in the ACC Coastal Division at 10-6. UVa played at the same Columbia NCAA Regional as N.C. A&T last season.
Four days later the Aggies will play in the Navy Thanksgiving Tournament where their first opponent will be a Maine team whose 2017-18 season mirrored N.C. A&T’s. The Black Bears went 23-10, won the American East Conference regular-season and tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA tournament. N.C. A&T closes out the tournament against the host school, Navy.
After Nov. 29 contest at Western Carolina, the Aggies return home to face Division II Johnson C. Smith on Dec. 10. The Aggies hit the road for another tough contest at East Tennessee State on Dec. 13. ETSU went 20-13 overall and 11-3 in the Southern Conference for a second-place finish. The Buccaneers advanced to the postseason WNIT.
Another 20-win team from last season awaits next when the Aggies travel a few miles from Greensboro for a game at Elon on Dec. 18. The Phoenix went 25-8 last season with one of their wins coming against N.C. A&T at Corbett Sports Center. They also won the CAA tournament and played in the NCAA tournament. Robinson, who served as an assistant coach at VCU for three seasons, will welcome in his old team to Corbett on Dec. 21.
N.C. A&T will close out the non-conference season at the FAU Post Christmas Tournament in Boca Raton, Fla. The Aggies open against host Florida Atlantic on Dec. 28 before playing either Yale or St. Louis on Dec. 29.
Conference play opens at S.C. State on Saturday, Jan. 5. N.C. A&T shared the regular-season conference title with Bethune-Cookman last season. Their one and only matchup this season occurs in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Monday, Feb. 4. They will play arch-rival N.C. Central twice, at NCCU on Jan. 26 and at Corbett Sports Center on March 7.