DOVER, Del.-The North Carolina A&T women's basketball team climbed its way into second place in the conference with its fourth straight win, a 75-53 victory against Delaware State at Memorial Hall on Monday evening.
The A&T victory snapped the Hornets' five-game winning streak, and the Aggies did so with one of their best team performances of the year against what was the No. 2 team in the MEAC.
The Aggies were led by redshirt junior Amber Calvin, who posted 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Redshirt freshman Eboni Ross had 13 of her 15 points in the second half and added nine rebounds to her totals. She also posted a season-high six blocks against the Hornets. Senior JaQuayla Berry added 13 points for the Aggies as well.
"My hat goes off to Eboni Ross. She really turned it around in the second half," said A&T head coach Tarrell Robinson. " I was really in her ear about being soft and she obviously gave us inside presence, offensively and defensively."
The 22-point difference was the second highest the Aggies (14-7, 6-2) have posted against an opponent this season. The Aggies also shot a season-high 55 percent in the contest.
"We knew coming in that Del State was one of the hottest teams in the league," Robinson said. "We knew that they were going to be confident, and obviously playing in their gym, they were going to have a lot of energy and possibly get off to a good start. But our biggest thing was to just respond, and then from respond to sustain. We did that."
The Aggies came back from being down by eight points in the first six minutes to lead 36-22 at the half thanks to a 12-0 to close the half.
Calvin started the come-back with a steal, and a spin-move around the Hornet defender for a fastbreak layup. She followed that with a 3-ponter to make it a 16-13 contest. Moments later, Calvin recorded a jumper on an assist from sophomore Adriana Nazario to make it an 18-15 game with 9:53 left. Nazario tied the game at 18-18 with a 3-pointer. The Aggies got the lead for the remainder of the contest as sophomore Jessica Lyons made it a 21-20 contest with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc.
But Robinson was quick to remind his players that they couldn't allow a repeat of Saturday, in which UMES cut the A&T lead down to single digits in the second half, using an 11-0 run.
"I talked about carryover from the Maryland Eastern Shore game, where we were up 15 at the half and we let them get back into the game. I stressed that at halftime," he said.
In the second half, A&T kept up the pressure on the Hornets. Delaware State (8-12, 5-2) did not get closer than 13 points to the Aggies, and A&T continued to add to their cushion. A layup by Lyons gave the Aggies a 53-32 lead with 12 minutes remaining. The Aggies have won three of their four last games by double-figures.
"I told the girls in shootaround and the day before that this is a character game," he said. "Knowing what's at stake, knowing that this is the second-ranked team in the conference, knowing that we're trying to climb back to the top, and that how we respond will carry over into the rest of the season. We did well, we responded well. I'm very happy."
The Aggies will host Bethune-Cookman (10-10, 5-3) on Saturday at 2 p.m., in Corbett Sports Center.