GREENSBORO-North Carolina A&T head coach Tarrell Robinson has something to smile about after seeing his team hand archrival N.C. Central a 67-27 loss Saturday afternoon at Corbett Sports Center.
It was the first time the Aggies had held an opponent to under 30 points in a game since 1995, when A&T defeated UNC Wilmington 55-25.
"I walked into the locker room and JaQuayla Berry said, 'Is that a smile? Is coach finally smiling?'" Robinson said. "I'm a happy coach right now...I did not envision a 40-point win. But I did envision [my players] giving me their biggest effort. "
The Aggies (4-3, 1-0) gave Robinson plenty of reasons to grin, after defeating the Eagles for the sixth straight game.
"We're tied for first place in the conference. That's the thing we talked about - half of the league was going to be tied on top, and half the league was going to be on the bottom. We definitely wanted to be in the top," Robinson said. "My hat goes off to my players and how we played defensively. I thought we did an excellent job on the defensive end. I thought everybody contributed to the win that we had today. We talked about bouncing back from the Richmond game, meaning getting off to a good start in the first half and the results spoke for themselves."
It wasn't hard for the North Carolina A&T women's basketball team to come out with all pistons firing on Saturday afternoon with the archrival Eagles in town. A&T and cruised to a definitive victory, taking a 29 point lead at the half. A&T held the Eagles to 20 percent shooting in the game, and used 10 steals and a season-best eight blocks to clip the Eagles' wings.
Junior guard Tracy King helped lift the Aggies to the victory missing the Aggies last game with the Eagles because she was sidelined with a meniscus injury. King made up for lost time by finishing with 22 points, three assists, two blocks and two steals.
"I thought Tracy King really stepped up today and really played well on both ends. I thought she did a heck of a job on that Williams kid defensively," said Robinson, noting that Chasidy Williams, a preseason All-MEAC second-team selection, was held to just eight points in the game.
The Aggies pulled ahead to an 11-0 lead in the first four minutes of the contest, buoyed by a pair of 3-pointers from King. The Aggie defense kept the Eagles on a tight leash throughout the first half, as A&T forced 13 N.C. Central turnovers. The Aggie defense was also stingy around the basket, as they collected seven blocks in the first half, including three from redshirt freshman Eboni Ross. The Aggies pulled ahead to 30-6 with under five minutes left on a jumper from sophomore Adriana Nazario. After a layup by NCCU's Amber Neely, the Aggies scored nine consecutive points capped off by a Lyons 3-pointer. Another 3-pointer from Lyons made it 42-11, to give the sophomore 10 points in the game, as the Aggies took a 42-13 halftime lead.
"I'm ecstatic that we won the game. It was a team effort, and it was a team defensive effort. That's what we've preached and that's what we've been about from Day One. It just feels good. I'm pleased and now we have 15 days before our next opponent," Robinson said.
The Aggies will take a week off for finals before hitting the court again on Dec. 15 at Liberty for a 2 p.m. match. They will spend the upcoming weeks working on improving individually and building on their early success.
"We've still got to find motivation to come in and work hard and make sure we're ready to go down to Lynchburg on the 15th," Robinson said.