SAVANNAH, Ga.- After a disappointing showing on Saturday at S.C. State, North Carolina A&T bounced back effectively with a 67-45 win over Savannah State in women's basketball action Monday night at Tiger Arena.
After allowing S.C. State to shoot 63 percent from the floor Saturday afternoon, A&T head coach Tarrell Robinson wanted his team to show an improved defensive effort against the Tigers. He got it. The Aggies (17-8, 9-3) held the Tigers (7-17, 2-9) to 35 percent shooting.
"I thought we responded to the S.C. State game defensively. I felt like going in there was a focus and there was a different tone and effort, and that was obviously the difference in the game," Robinson said.
The Aggies took a 33-24 lead into the break, and the Tigers worked to get back into the game. A pair of consecutive 3-pointers from Andrietta Thomas pulled Savannah State to within eight at 40-32. A layup by Erin Hogue brought the Tigers within four at 42-38 with 13:51 remaining. But the Aggies got a few defensive stops and steals to regain a large cushion.
A layup by redshirt junior Amber Calvin on a steal and feed by Tracy King to complete a 7-0 run to help the Aggies regain a double-digit lead at 49-38. The Tigers never got the lead under double figures again. The Aggies put the game away with an 11-1 run capped off by a Eboni Ross layup with 3:51 to go
"I thought when Savannah State made their run, we were able to respond in the right way by stopping them. Tracy had about two or three steals in a row that led to baskets, and we were able to extend our lead," said Robinson. "Amber had some big steals and so did Ariel Bursey. That's how we wanted to do it-on the defensive end."
Calvin recorded 24 points with six rebounds and four assists, shooting 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. Her 13 first-half points helped lift the Aggies to an early lead.
"We need that on the road. We need someone to give us life," Robinson said. "AC, the kind of player she is, she was able to respond and get everybody else active."
Berry had 12 points to extend her double-figure streak to eight games, and redshirt freshman Ross provided 11 points for her third double-digit contest. King had eight points but led the team with seven rebounds and five steals in the contest.
In the first half, the Aggies went on a 9-0 run to start the game, and kept that margin for most of the half. Berry collected a 3-point play to make it a 14-3 contest with 16:30 left. The Tigers fought back to make it a 21-16 contest five minutes later. But back-to-back 3-pointers by Calvin and Berry gave the Aggies a nine-point lead at 27-18.
The Aggies will travel to Durham on Saturday to take on their archrival, the N.C. Central Eagles at 2 p.m. The last time the two teams met, the Aggies defeated the Eagles by 40.
"We've just got work to do. I'm just glad we were able to split on the road," Robinson said.