Aggies Begin Quest For Third MEAC Title
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PREVIEW
The Game: No. 5 North Carolina A&T (14-15, 9-7 MEAC) vs. Morgan State (6-23, 3-13 MEAC)
When: Monday, March 5 at 1:30 p.m.
Where: Lawrence Joel Coliseum, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Must See: The Aggies will begin competition in the 2012 MEAC Tournament as the fifth seed against No. 12 Morgan State Bears on Monday. The Aggies are looking to capture their third MEAC Tournament Championship title in program history and their second under coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs. The Aggies last won the Tournament in 2009 with a team that was more experienced than this season's team. The Aggies are the sixth youngest team in Division I, which would make a tournament title all the more impressive. Despite losing two starters halfway through the season-sophomores Mikala Scott and Tracy King-the Aggies finished the season with a 9-7 record in the conference. The Aggies are led by second-team All-MEAC wing player JaQuayla Berry. Her 14.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game leads the team. Berry's offensive output turned a huge profit this season. On Feb. 27, she became the 12th person in program history and the seventh under Bibbs to record 1,000 career points. The Aggies have also come to rely heavily on redshirt sophomore guard Amber Calvin and All-MEAC rookie team member Tiffanie Adair this season. Calvin, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury that required her third surgery in four years, has been stellar for the Aggies in 2011-12. She is the team's second-leading scorer (13.4) and first in assists (4.0). Tiffanie Adair came on strong in conference play. She won the MEAC Rookie of the Week award five times in the last seven weeks, and leads the MEAC in field goal percentage at .564. Adair is shooting 63 percent from the floor in conference play, while averaging 12.9 points and 8.3 rebounds.
Last Meeting: The Bears defeated the Aggies by an 85-83 overtime final in their last meeting on Jan. 21 in Baltimore, Md. It was Morgan State's first conference win of the season. In that game, Amber Calvin and Tiffanie Adair tied for the team-lead with 20 points and five assists each. JaQuayla Berry had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Nikia Gorham posted 15 points and 12 rebounds. The Bears had four players-Amarah Williams, Dekeisha Mathis, Tracey Carrington and Omara Parker-score double figures. Williams had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Morgan State Notes: The Aggies are 6-5 against Morgan State under Bibbs, having lost their last four meetings. The Bears were selected to finish fifth in the in the MEAC. They are 3-13 after losing their last nine games. Leading the team in scoring are senior guards Dekeisha Mathis Omara Parker, who both average 12.2 points per game. Freshman forward Amarah Williams, who was the MEAC Rookie of the Week on Jan. 9, leads the team with 6.0 rebounds per game. She also has a team-best .529 field goal percentage. The Bears are sixth in the MEAC in scoring offense, and last in scoring defense.
Aggies in the MEAC Tournament: North Carolina A&T joined the MEAC in 1970. North Carolina A&T has won two MEAC Tournament titles (1994 & 2009). Two players have won the tournament's Outstanding Player Award in Nisha Watson (1994) and Amber Bland (2009). Seven Aggies have earned all-tournament honors in Sheila Rivers (1988), Deidra Cheeks (1988 & 1991), Helena Creamer (1991), Angela Hill (1993 & 1994), Nisha Watson (1994 & 1996), Lamona Smalley (2008 & 2009) and Amber Bland (2009).