GREENSBORO-Tarrell Robinson would like to welcome you to the Land of 16.
North Carolina A&T women's basketball picked up its 16th win on the year, and their sixth straight victory, with a 69-50 victory against Florida A&M in Corbett Sports Center.
The Aggies (16-7, 8-2) haven't won 16 games since the 2009-10 season, when they captured the MEAC regular-season title and won a pair of games in the WNIT to end the year with a 23-11 record. The six-game streak matches their season-long winning streak from last season.
"The last two years they've won 15 games so we've taken it a whole another step," Robinson said. "Hopefully we can keep it going. I thought collectively as a team we came in with a focus. As far as executing, as far as doing the little things, we're doing that right now so hopefully we can keep it going."
For Robinson, the victory over the Rattlers (9-14, 6-4) shows the team's commitment to continue to work hard to reach their goals of winning the MEAC regular-season and tournament titles and pursuing a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
"I told them when we started conference play that everything is mental now. Everybody knows everybody's plays and personnel, and we should be used to the stuff we're running," said Robinson. "It's about being mental and perfecting it, perfecting our defensive principles, perfecting our offensive schemes, following our scouting reports and taking it to a whole new level as far as personnel. Right now we're doing it, and I hope we continue to do it, and continue to grow and that we're still playing in March."
The Aggies have been making a habit of late of getting off to a strong start, holding teams to under 20 points in the first half and building on double-digit leads deep into the second half. Monday was no different.
A laser pass into the paint from junior forward Tracy King found redshirt freshman Eboni Ross who got the layup to put the Aggies in front by 16-6 with 10:14 left. The Aggies kept building their lead, and eight of the team's nine players scored to contribute to the cushion. A 3-pointer from outside the top of the key by sophomore Jessica Lyons gave A&T a 22-11 lead. Lyons followed that up moments later with a coast-to-coast basket make it a 27-11 game. The Aggies ended the half with a 38-18 advantage. It was the sixth time this season that the Aggies have held an opponent to under 20 first-half points, and the second time this year that they have held the Rattlers to below 20.
"It starts with JaQuayla Berry. If Quay is into it and she's working hard, then everybody else feeds off of that and then you get the result that you get today," Robinson said.
Ross ended the game with a team-best 15 points, while Berry had 14 for the Aggies. King also contributed 10 points.
"I think we're just finally gelling and they all know they're going to play. I'm very up front and in their face about what I need from them and what the expectations are. Right now they're just trying to live up to it," Robinson said. "I tell them to keep winning you have to keep working hard. Winning doesn't mean we take steps back and we take breaks. Don't get it misunderstood why we're in this position right now. We're making a commitment to do the little things and bust our butts."
The win marked the fourth straight win in double figures, and the Aggies nearly won by 20 or more points for the third straight game. The Aggies will look to keep their winning streak alive as they begin their three-game road swing on Saturday by visiting S.C. State at 4 p.m.
"You've got to understand it's hard when you're talking about winning streaks. It takes teams coming together and believing in one another, and I talked to them before the game about being accountable and then being able to deal with holding each other accountable. At this point, that's where we are," Robinson said.