DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.-The North Carolina A&T women's basketball team saw its five-game winning streak against Bethune-Cookman snapped on Saturday afternoon at Moore Gymnasium, as the Wildcats came back from behind to defeat the Aggies 69-64.
The Aggies (9-6, 1-1) led by as many as nine in the second half, but saw that lead slip away as the Wildcats (6-8, 1-1) were able to take advantage of 15 second-half A&T turnovers. The Aggies also struggled to maintain their offense in the second half, shooting 29 percent from the field after shooting 56 in the first.
"We played too loose. We weren't the same team that played against GW, that played against Elon, that played against UNC Wilmington," said A&T head coach Tarrell Robinson. "I told them we've got to be better than that. In this type of environment, we've got to be better. We've got to reprogram our mentality. We didn't come in here to win the game. It seemed like we came in here just to play the game. We can't do that."
After leading 37-33 at the half, the Aggies took a nine-point lead when junior Tracy King, who led the team with 18 points, made it a 48-39 game with a layup. But the Wildcats came back into the game, taking advantage of critical A&T turnovers and missed shots. Chastity Rene' Taylor, who led B-CU with 19 points, completed the comeback with a fastbreak layup to take a 51-50 lead with 8:39 remaining.
The Aggies fought back and King gave A&T a 56-55 lead with five minutes remaining. But the lead did not last long as a free throw from Shakeyia Colyer tied the game and Taylor collected a 3-pointer from corner to put B-CU ahead by three. After two Nazario free throws made it 59-58, B-CU's Terrenisha Hollis hit a free throw, stole the ball on the Aggies next possession and scored on a layup to make it a 62-58 game. Bethune-Cookman free throws kept the Wildcats in the lead, but Nazario knocked down a 3-pointer with 30 seconds on the clock to keep the A&T hopes alive at 65-62.
Redshirt freshman Eboni Ross gave A&T an opportunity to tie the game as she picked up her second block on the day, to return possession to the Aggies. But King's open 3-point look morphed into a traveling call, giving the ball back to the Wildcats with 16 seconds remaining.
"Taking care of the little things-that's what the game came down to-not boxing out and not taking care of the basketball. In the conference on the road, we've got to be better than this," said Robinson.
A&T went on a 10-0 run to open up the game. The Wildcats responded with their own run to climb back into the game. A jumper by B-CU's Shakeyia Colyer, who finished with 17 points, cut the lead to 27-22 B-CU within five at 27-22. Taylor hit a pair of free throws to make it a one-possession game. King scored three consecutive times to put the Aggies ahead 33-27.
Saturday marked the first time this season that the Aggies have lost a game after leading at the half.
"We were up 12 at one time and we let them get all the way back in," said Robinson. "We have just a lot of stuff that we've got to clean up by Monday."
JaQualya Berry added 16 points and eight rebounds for A&T. The Aggies will look to pick up their second conference win as they take on Florida A&M in Tallahassee on Monday at 5:30 p.m.