SAVANNAH, Ga. – North Carolina A&T made another aggressive move in the MEAC women’s basketball standings while distancing itself from Savannah State with a 75-61 road win over the Tigers at Tiger Arena Saturday evening.
The Aggies (19-4, 9-2 MEAC) are now in sole possession of second place in the conference thanks to a Coppin State road loss to Florida A&M on Saturday.
“We understood coming in we were one win from being in second place,” said A&T head coach Tarrell Robinson. “We also understood we were one loss from being tied with Savannah State. This was a very important game for my team, and I’m proud of the way they responded.”
Senior Tracy King led the Aggies with 19 points, five rebounds and five steals. Debbie Smith added 12 and Christina Carter finished with 11 points and six assists. Despite their strong performances, the Aggies are still 2 ½ games behind first-place Hampton who won again on Saturday. The Aggies will take it considering what happened during the week.
“I’m proud of the way my ladies played considering the weather conditions back home,” said Robinson, referring to the eight inches of snow the Triad received starting on Wednesday. The snow prohibited the Aggies from practicing for two days. “All in all to only have one day to practice for a team as good as Savannah, it was exciting to see our ladies come out with a victory.”
The Aggies did an effective job of keeping Savannah State’s quick guards from penetrating the lane and scoring. The Tigers have some of the best guard play in the league, according to Robinson, adding that they definitely have guards that can score off the bounce. By preventing the Tigers from getting easy baskets, the Aggies held them to 35 percent shooting for the game. When Carter got in the lane and found a wide open King underneath the basket, the Aggies took their biggest lead of the game at 64-46 with 5:20 remaining.
The Tigers did get the lead to 10, 69-59, on a 3-point by Jasmine Kirkland with two minutes to play. But the Aggies were masterful at the free throw line on Saturday. They hit 24 of 30 for the game and were 6-for-6 over the final three minutes of the game.
The Tigers were led by Ezinne Kalu’s 14 points off the bench. Jasmine Norman added 13. The Tigers (14-11, 7-4 MEAC) trailed by 13-4 early in the game. But a Kula layup with 6:08 remaining in the first half gave Savannah State it’s only lead of the night, 23-21. King took that away in two minutes. Her free throw moved the Aggies to within one. She then hit a three from the top of the key to give A&T the lead for good.
A&T is back in action on Monday as they head to Orangeburg, S.C., to face S.C. State at 6 p.m.