ORANGEBURG, S.C. – It’s not enough that the North Carolina A&T women’s basketball team has one of the best defenses in the country. But now it looks like they want to also dominate on the offensive end to complement their ‘D.’
The Aggies shot 50 percent from the floor, was 7-for-13 from 3-point range and with their 73-49 win over S.C. State Monday at the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center, they scored more than 70 points for the third time in their last four games. The Aggies’ seven threes were a season high and they shot 50 percent or better for the fourth time in 2013-14.
“I think my ladies play better offensively when they’re being aggressive instead of passive,” said A&T head coach Tarrell Robinson. “Being aggressive seems to work in our favor. But as far as our stats from the field, those are probably our best numbers on the year.”
The Aggies (20-4, 10-2 MEAC) used their strong offensive effort to win their sixth straight. A&T reached 20 wins for the fifth time in seven seasons as they put together consecutive 20 win seasons.
“This was an impressive win for us,” said Robinson. “I have the upmost respect for coach Doug Robertson and the job he does at South Carolina State in getting his team prepared. Ariel Bursey got us going in the first half, and DeAndra Davis and Tracy King, our seniors, keep doing a fantastic job for us.”
King led the Aggies with 18 points and seven rebounds on 7-for-7 shooting from the line. Bursey hit all four of her 3-pointers to finish with 16 and Davis added 11. A&T took control of the game after S.C. State’s Cabriel Duren cut the Aggies lead to one, 18-17, at the 7:13 mark of the first half.
Bursey answered by hitting a three in transition off a pass from King. Debbie Smith then took the ball baseline and scored again for A&T to give the Aggies a 23-17 lead. When Bursey knocked down another 3-pointer from the corner, it completed an 8-0 Aggies run. Kourtney Williams ended the run with a layup, but King found Bursey open for another three to give the Aggies a 10-point advantage.
The Bulldogs (6-16, 4-8 MEAC) got the lead under 10 again at the 2:54 mark with two Duren free throws, but Bursey ended the half with another 3-pointer to give A&T a 33-21 halftime lead. S.C. State never got the lead into single digits in the second half. The lead grew to 20, 57-37, on a King 3-point play with 7:46 remaining in the game. The Aggies shot 56 percent in the second half.
The Aggies have the eighth-best scoring defense in the nation. But at 42 percent, they also shoot the ball better than any team in the league.
“I think we’re doing a better job of distributing the ball,” said Robinson who saw the Aggies record 14 assists on 25 field goals. “I think there was a moment at the beginning of the conference season where every play down we felt like we had to run a set. It’s not fun to play basketball like that. Our ladies realized it, so now we’re starting to get transition offense.
As far as 3-point shooting goes, as long as those bigs (6-foot-3 Aprill McRae and Eboni Ross) are getting the other team’s attention, we can take our time and knock down wide open shots.”
On Saturday A&T puts its six-game winning streak on the line when they welcoming in archrival N.C. Central to Corbett Sports Center at 4 p.m. The Aggies have never lost to the Eagles since NCCU joined the conference in 2011.