S.C. State Bulldogs (17-7, 9-4 MEAC) at North Carolina A&T Aggies (18-8, 10-3 MEAC)
Date: March 2, 2013
Time: 2 p.m.
Facility: Corbett Sports Center
Series: A&T leads, 33-30
Webstream: www.ncataggies.com; Walter Johnson (play-by-play); Terry Cooper (analyst)
PROBABLE STARTERS: G Ariel Bursey (5-10 So., 5.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg,1.4 apg); G Amber Calvin (5-8 RJr., 10.4 ppg, 3.4 rbg, 2.3 apg); F Tracy King (5-10 Jr., 9.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.2 apg); F JaQuayla Berry (5-11 Sr., 12.8 ppg, 6.2 rbg, 1.3 apg); C Eboni Ross (6-2 RFr., 7.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 0.4 apg)
CHIT CHAT: The Aggies are coming off their second straight 20-plus point victory after defeating N.C. Central 60-33 on the road on Saturday. The Aggies have bested a MEAC opponent by 20 or more points six times this season. The Aggies have been doing it all by playing stingy defense. The Aggies are holding opponents to an average of 55.0 points, which puts them at 46th in the nation for scoring defense and third in the conference. The Aggies have not held an opponent to an average of 60 points per game since 1995-96. As they close out the regular season with games against S.C. State, Savannah State and Norfolk State, the Aggies will look to continue to keep opponents from scoring. The Aggies will also be looking to close out the season with their first 20-win season since 2009-10.
From the Coach
"Defense is going to be the difference on whether we win a championship. If you look at the top teams in the league who are the most successful, they're also the teams that hold their opponents to the least amount of points. I stress that to our ladies every day in practice."
A&T head coach Tarrell Robinson after Saturday's 60-33 win at N.C. Central
It's A "Lock": Redshirt freshman Eboni Ross has been a key part of the Aggies' 10-3 run in the MEAC this season, giving the Aggies a strong inside presence on both ends. She has started in every conference contest, and is averaging 10.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in MEAC play. Ross has won six MEAC Rookie of the Week awards this season, including in the last three. Ross has recorded double-figures in five of her last six games, and the Aggies have gone 5-1 in that span.
The Opponent: The Bulldogs have won their last four games and five of their last six. They are battling the Aggies for one of the top-3 spots in the conference, which allow a team to only need three games instead of four to win the MEAC tournament. The Bulldogs are led offensively by senior Tiara Knotts, who was named to the preseason All-MEAC second team. Knotts is averaging 13.5 points per game. Senior Ashley Clarke is averaging 10.3 points per game for the Bulldogs. In their last game, senior reserve Fannie Goodwin provided a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds at Florida A&M. Knotts led the team in that victory with 19 points.
Potential Gameday Star Power: North Carolina A&T: Junior Tracy King was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday after providing the Aggies with 15 points, 12 rebounds, seven steals and four assists last week as A&T went 2-0.S.C. State: Senior Tiara Knotts has led the team in scoring 11 times this season, including scoring 19 points on Monday against Florida A&M. She recorded 10 points against the Aggies in their last meeting on Feb. 16. She'll be looking to continue to be an offensive threat on Saturday.
The Magic Number for A&T: 50: The Aggies have won eight times when holding their opponents to 50 points or less.
FROM THE NOTES:
Senior JaQuayla Berry enters Saturday's game with 1,373 career points-in sixth place on the program's all-time scorer's list. She also has 631 career rebounds (7th all-time) and 241 career steals (6th all-time) to her credit. She has shot 38 percent from the floor and 66 percent from the free throw line in her career.
Senior Nikia Gorham enters Saturday's game with career totals of 650 points, 537 rebounds and 89 blocks. She is sixth on the all-time blocks list and is tied for ninth on the all-time rebounds. Gorham has averaged 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds for her career, and holds a career field goal percentage of .491.