North Carolina A&T Aggies (8-2) vs. William and Mary (3-8)
Date: Friday, Jan. 3
Time: 7 p.m.
Facility: Kaplan Arena
Series: Tied, 1-1
Probable Starters: G Christina Carter (5-8, Redshirt-Sophomore, 12.5 ppg) F Tracy King (5-10, Senior, 12.5 ppg), G Ariel Bursey (5-10, Junior, 8.3 ppg), F Eboni Ross (6-3, Redshirt-Sophomore, 8.1 ppg), C Aprill McRae (6-3, Redshirt-Sophomore, 9.0 ppg)
Aggies Overview: The North Carolina A&T women’s basketball team will face its second consecutive road opponent of the week when it travels to Williamsburg, Va. to face William & Mary. The Aggies escaped Elon on New Year’s Eve with a 58-57 victory at Alumni Arena. Ross led A&T with her first double-double of the season as she scored 10 points and secured a game-high 16 rebounds. King also added 10 points over the Phoenix. Although the Aggies struggled offensively, shooting just 28.1 percent from the field, they depended on their defense which forced 23 turnovers, 11 steals and converted on 12-of-16 (75.0 percent) free throws in the second half to take the win. The Aggies have recorded a 2-2 mark on the road this season and are led by redshirt junior Debbie Smith who has averaged 12.0 points per game in foreign territory.
William & Mary Overview: The Tribe started the season off by dropping its first five games before grabbing its first win on Nov. 30, a 96-88 overtime win over Massachusetts. Since then W&M has won just two games, with its latest feat over Saint Louis at the Cyclone Challenge. The Tribe has not won back-to-back games this season and is coming off an 85-65 loss to 14th-ranked Iowa State. W&M is 1-3 at Kaplan Arena this season but has four players turning in double-figures in scoring. The Tribe is led by freshman guard Marlena Tremba with 12.9 points per game. Tremba leads W&M in 3-pointers (24), assists (29), and is its best free-throw shooter, hitting 75.0 percent of her shots at the line. Senior forward Kaitlyn Mathieu (12.6 ppg) is the Tribe’s biggest threat on defensive, averaging 7.2 rebounds per game. Junior forward Jazmen Boone (11.7 ppg) and junior guard Kyla Kerstetter (11.4 ppg) round out the offense for William & Mary, averaging double-digits in scoring. The Tribe’s defense has tallied 131 steals headed by Kerstetter with 33.
Potential Star: Ross is coming off one of her best balanced performances on offense and defense. She averages a team-leading 6.2 rebounds per game but on the road Ross is grabbing 8.3 boards a game. The Aggies will need another stellar defensive effort from her against the Tribe.
News & Notes:
*The Aggies are 1-1 all-time against the Tribe. The Aggies captured an 85-78 win over William & Mary last season at Corbett Sports Center while the Tribe won the initial meeting, 74-68 at Kaplan Arena in the 2011-12 season.
*King finished with 20 points against the Tribe in their last meeting. The Aggies trailed 47-44 at the half but they outscored W&M 41-31 in the second half to get the win.
*The Aggies will host Campbell on Jan. 6 at 6 p.m., for its final non-conference game of the season.
From the Coach: “We’re taking on a William & Mary team that has gotten better and better each game under new head coach Ed Swanson. Two of their three wins this season have come in their last four games. They’ve got four players averaging double-figures and they play very well at home. In order for us to be a championship caliber team, we’ve got to be able to win games on the road.”
North Carolina A&T women’s basketball coach Tarrell Robison on William & Mary