GREENSBORO – Three Aggies scored in double-figures to help the North Carolina A&T women’s basketball team defeat Davidson 62-53 in its home opener at Corbett Sports Center Thursday evening.
A&T (3-1), who is on a three-game winning streak, was led by junior Ariel Bursey with 18 points. Bursey was 7-for-14 from the floor which included three 3-pointers. She grabbed five rebounds and recorded two steals.
“That’s Ariel Bursey,” head coach Tarrell Robinson said about Bursey's team-leading performance. “I hope this is a breakthrough game for her. Our staff has a tremendous amount of confidence in her and the caliber of player she is and can be. We know she can be a leader and reliable scorer for us.”
Redshirt-sophomore Christina Carter added 13 points and senior Tracy King had 12. The duo has scored in double-figures in each game of the season. Eleven of King’s points came in the second half as she finished with six rebounds. Carter also added a game-high six assists.
“They’ve been absolutely consistent,” Robinson said about Carter and King. “TK being a leader of this team has taken it upon herself to make sure that she shows up every night ready to play. Ever since the Quinnipiac game, Carter is back to the young lady that she was at Virginia Commonwealth.”
The Aggies got off to a slow start in the first half, but Bursey gave them the spark they needed with back-to-back points to lift them to a 21-17 edge with 2:24 remaining. She wasn’t done with the Wildcats (2-3) just yet as she nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give A&T the 26-21 advantage at halftime.
“At halftime I told the girls to settle down,” Robinson said. “We did a good job of defending early but we weren’t hitting our shots. We put ourselves in a position to be up at the half which helped us. Davidson is a good team but we just picked it up defensively. It wasn’t a good offensive night for us but our defense did a great job of holding Davidson to 53 points.”
A&T surged to a 41-30 lead after DeAndra Davis pounded to the rim for a layup with 12:09 left. With just under four minutes in the game, King pushed the Aggies to a 47-35 lead with a basket. A&T held a steady advantage until it was plagued with fouls which sent the Wildcats to the free throw line and allowed them to cut A&T’s lead to 53-47 with 1:17 remaining. A pair of free throws from Carter gave the Aggies a 55-47 edge but Laura Murray hit a 3-pointer to bring Davidson within three with 1:08 left.
Fouls sent the Aggies to the free throw line for the remainder of the game. Davidson made a desperation 3-pointer with 27 seconds left but it didn’t harm A&T’s lead as it closed out the game on an 8-3 run.
Defensively, redshirt-sophomore Aprill McRae led A&T with nine rebounds while adding eight points. The Aggies defense held Davidson to just 53 points, which is a team that has averaged 75.5 points per game this season. A&T also forced 21 turnovers, took a 32-20 advantage in the paint, and recorded eight steals.
Laura Murray led the Wildcats with 21 points and Dakota Dukes posted 10 in their third straight loss.
A&T will face Richmond on Sunday, Nov. 24 in a non-conference game at Corbett Sports Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.