DURHAM (January 26, 2019) – North Carolina A&T has figured out one simple concept in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) women’s basketball play thus far this season. If they can’t score, they can’t win.
Despite not shooting well from the floor and the free throw line late in the game, the Aggies held on for a 52-49 win over archrival N.C. Central in front of a hostile crowd gathered at McDougald-McLendon Arena Saturday afternoon.
The Aggies (9-10, 6-0 MEAC) are still tied atop the MEAC standings with Norfolk State thanks to their sixth straight win. They have now won 12 straight road games against MEAC competition and they have won 17 of their last 18 games against the NCCU Eagles. N.C. A&T has also won 24 out of their last 25 games against MEAC opponents including the conference tournament, and head coach Tarrell Robinson moved into second place in all-time wins for the women’s program with win No. 131 passing his mentor Patricia Cage-Bibbs.
What may be most impressive about the Aggies current is that all six conference foes to this point have failed to shoot better than 33 percent from the floor. The last five have failed to shoot 30 percent. No one in the MEAC has scored more than 50 points against N.C. A&T.
“We want to keep that going,” Robinson said about the Aggies defensive streaks. “Defense is how we win games. We rely on it heavily on days like today.”
To top it all off, junior C’Coriea Foy had a double-double in points (16) and steals (10). It was Foy’s first career double-double.
“That's huge,” Robinson said about Foy’s double-double. “We think CC can really impact games for us defensively. I think with her, Mikaya Wilson and Le'on Hill, we have three of the best defenders in the league on our team.”
The Aggies led 39-31 going into the fourth quarter. But the Eagles were able to tie the game at 42 with 7:21 remaining in the game. It was then Foy’s offense that went into action. She took a pass from junior Shantell Bostick and nailed a corner three. A minute later she went to the other corner of the court and swished another 3-pointer to put the Aggies on top 48-42. Junior Cinia McCray completed the 8-0 run with a transition layup to put the Aggies up eight with five minutes to play.
“She is starting to get into her groove. Her confidence is really starting to grow,” Robinson said about Foy. “I thought she got off to a bad start but toward the end, she started looking like a first-team all-conference player.”
But McCray’s field goal would be the final one of the game for the Aggies as the Eagles kept fighting to get back into the game. Kiyana Brown’s layup made it a 51-47 game with 24 seconds remaining. McCray then went to the line where she missed free throws leading to Zaria Atkins hitting a jump shot to get the Eagles to within two with 15.7 seconds remaining.
Foy was fouled immediately in the inbound. She went to the foul line where she made one of two free throws to put the Aggies ahead 52-49. The Eagles (4-15, 1-5 MEAC) were only able to get off a desperation three at the end.
“You can't simulate this type of environment in practice,” said Robinson. “The environment is great; this rivalry is great and getting the win in this game is great. I'm proud of my young ladies. Hats off to NCCU, they played a hard-fought game. They made this game everything it was.”
Pauline Afriyie led the Eagles with nine points and 11 rebounds. The Aggies led by as many as 14 in the first half and led 39-27 at the half.
N.C. A&T will take a week off from competition before traveling through Florida to play Florida A&M on Saturday, Feb. 2 and Bethune-Cookman on Monday, Feb.