DOVER, DEL. (January 12, 2019) – North Carolina A&T got off to a blazing start. Slowed. They revved up again. Slowed again. The Aggies women’s basketball team then proceeded to end the game as they started it – blazing.
The ups and downs resulted in a 67-47 win over Delaware State Saturday afternoon at Memorial Hall. The Aggies (5-10, 2-0 MEAC) have now won 10 straight road games over Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponents and they have won 22 out of their last 24 against MEAC foes including the conference tournament.
Junior Cinia McCray had her third game of 20-points or more as she finished with a game-high 23 on 7-for-14 shooting from the field and 4-for-9 shooting from 3-point range. Freshman
Rayven Peeples scored nine of her 17 points in the first three minutes of the game. She was 7-for-11 from the floor and added eight rebounds to her totals.
The Aggies outrebounded the Hornets 51-32 and dominated in the paint, outscoring DSU 32-12.
But it was Peeples who was the reason for the Aggies blazing start. She scored the Aggies first nine points to help N.C. A&T take a 9-0 advantage. The Aggies held on to close out the first quarter with the lead at 16-11 thanks to a Le’on Hill layup to close the quarter.
“(Rayven) got off to a great start with 15 points in the first half with six rebounds and is possible our best defender thus far this season,” said N.C. A&T coach Tarrell Robinson.
N.C. A&T did get their lead back to nine, 26-17, on a 3-pointer from McCray, but an 11-2 run capped by a Yazmin Batch 3-pointer cut the Aggies lead to 30-28 with 3:19 remaining in the first half. Hill broke the Aggies drought with a layup, but Tylea Galloway kept the Hornets hot with another 3-pointer to cut N.C. A&T’s lead to 32-31 with 2 ½ minutes remaining in the first half.
DSU then took their first and only lead of the game when NaJai Pollard hit a short jumper two minutes later. Two McCray free throws gave the Aggies a 34-33 halftime lead.
“If you notice when they made their run, it was at the free throw line,” said Robinson. “That means we’re not defending properly, we’re doing the things we’re supposed to do to get stops. Once we started playing the way we’re supposed to play defensively, we stopped their momentum.”
The Aggies opened the second half on an 11-0 run to take their biggest lead of the ballgame to that point, 45-33, on an Alexus Lessears free throw with 4:51 remaining in the third quarter. N.C. A&T failed to score another point in the quarter, however, allowing the Hornets to cut the Aggies lead to four, 45-41, going into the fourth quarter.
Fortunately, the Aggies had one more burst in them. N.C. A&T scored the first 13 points of the fourth quarter to top the first nine points they scored to start the game as McCray followed up a 3-pointer with a jump shot to give the Aggies a 56-41 lead. Junior Mikaya Wilson completed the run with a runner in the paint for the 17-point lead with 4 ½ minutes to play. It was the last run the Aggies needed.
“It was a great win in this type of environment, and we have to keep it going and continue to keep getting better,” said Robinson.
The Aggies will go after their 11th straight road win against a MEAC opponent when they face Maryland Eastern Shore 5:30 p.m., Monday at the Hytche Athletic Center.
Lanayjha Ashe was the leading scorer for DSU with 16 points while Pollard was their leading rebounder with 15.