EAST GREENSBORO (February 9, 2019) –The North Carolina A&T women’s basketball team is fast, athletic and they have tremendous size and length.
They are also the defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champions and they are undefeated in the conference thus far this season, therefore, opponents come at them with their very best often leading to slow start for the Aggies.
But eventually speed, athleticism, size and length take precedence over determination. It happened again Saturday afternoon as the Aggies rolled to a 72-49 win over Delaware State at Corbett Sports Center.
C’Coriea Foy, 6-foot junior who provides the Aggies length defensively on the perimeter, led Aggies with 20 points, five rebounds and four steals. Junior center Alexus Lessears finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds for 12thcareer double-double. Another junior, Cinia McCray, tied a career high with nine rebounds to go along with 12 points on 4-for-8 shooting from 3-point range.
N.C. A&T (12-10, 9-0 MEAC) remains atop the MEAC standings after winning their 17thstraight game against MEAC competition. They have won 27 of 28 against MEAC competition overall including last year’s conference tournament.
“I hate that we don’t get off to better starts, but we feel like everybody in this league wants to give us our first loss,” said N.C. A&T coach Tarrell Robinson. “We’re going to get everybody’s best game. I’m proud of how our young ladies persevere.”
The Aggies led by two at the end of the first quarter and were down by two, 22-20, with 1:42 remaining in the first half. Freshman center Kendra Ross, who gives the Aggies even more size coming off the bench, followed up her own miss to tie the game at 22. Foy then drove to the basket for a floating jumper to give the Aggies lead before Taya Jones completed the 7-0 run to end the first half with a 3-pointer off a pass from junior Shantell Bostick giving the Aggies a 27-22 halftime lead.
Two NaJai Pollard free throws kept the game close for the Hornets (4-17, 2-8 MEAC) in the second half as she cut the Aggies lead to 27-26 with 8:42 remaining in the third quarter. That is before speed and athleticism kicked in to fuel the Aggies defense and to cause the Hornets’ clumsiness.
McCray got things going in the half court as she took a pass from freshman forward Rayven Peeples from the post and swished a three to put the Aggies up four. Foy followed by jumping in the passing lanes defensively for a steal and layup to make it 32-26. Lessears capped the 7-0 run by following her own miss for another two.
After the Hornets scored three straight to get back to within five, Bostick drove to the basket to give the Aggies a 36-29 lead. A Lessears defensive rebound put the Aggies back in transition as Bostick found an open McCray trailing the play for another 3-pointer and a 39-29 Aggies lead with 5:31 remaining in the third.
“We feel like we have several decent athletes on our team who separate us a bit from our opponents,” said Robinson. “If we can speed the game up, it opens the floor up for our athletes and puts pressure on the other team which usually leads to turnovers and the right type of results for us.”
DSU did cut the Aggies lead to 39-34. But the Aggies had another spurt in them. They went inside on two straight possessions to Lessears, the latter resulting in a 3-point play that gave the Aggies a 45-36 lead. Two Lessears free throws at the end of the third put the Aggies ahead by 11.
The Hornets never got the lead under 10 again. When McCray hit a three at the 4:35 mark of the fourth quarter, the Aggies lead had ballooned to 66-45.
Pollard, who is trying to become the Hornets all-time leading scorer, finished with 30 points. The Aggies are back in action 5:30 p.m., Monday at Corbett Sports Center as they face the second-place team in the conference in Maryland Eastern Shore (14-10, 10-1 MEAC).