North Carolina A&T (20-8, 15-1) vs. South Carolina State (12-17, 6-10)
Date: March 7, 2018
Time: 12 p.m.
Facility: Scope Arena (Norfolk, Va.)
Tournament Series: SCSU leads 3-1
PROBABLE STARTERS: F Quenswayla Story (6-1, Sr., 5.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg); G Shantell Bostick (5-7, So., 5.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg); G Cinia McCray (5-9, So., 9.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg); G C’Coriea Foy (6-0, So., 13.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg); C Alexus Lessears (6-3, So., 8.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg).
AGGIES OVERVIEW: N.C. A&T went 15-1 in conference play en route to winning their eighth regular-season title and their second in the past three years. Head coach Tarrell Robinson captured his fourth 20-win season over his six-year tenure with the Aggies defeating North Carolina Central 60-57 in their regular-season finale clinching the No. 1 seed in the 2018 MEAC Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament. The Aggies have never failed to make the conference tournament semifinals under Robinson as he is in search of his second championship game appearance. In the first meeting with SCSU, the Aggies defeated the Bulldogs 74-54 at SHM Memorial Center on Feb. 10. The Aggies had a 19-10 advantage in second-chance points, a 34-18 edge in points in the paint and they outscored the Bulldogs 23-9 in points off turnovers. C’Coriea Foy had a game-high 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists while Quenswayla Story chipped in 10 points. Alexus Lessears scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds on 4-for-7 shooting from the field. As tournament play approaches, sophomore Shantell Bostick is coming off perhaps the best game of her career in the win over NCCU. Bostick posted 15 points, had seven rebounds and dished out four assists. Lessears has 25 rebounds in her last two games and has secured double-figure rebounds in 11 of the 28 games she has played this season. The Aggies are on an eight-game win streak and have won 16 of their last 17 games dating back to the new year.
S.C. STATE BULLDOGS OVERVIEW: S.C. State entered the 2018 MEAC tournament as the No. 9 seed after going 6-10 in the conference. In the first round, the Bulldogs beat the No. 8 seeded N.C. Central Eagles, 76-67. Four scored in double figures led by Bryeasha Blair’s game-high 21 points converting 11 of 12 free throws. Jasmine Williams finished with a double-double scoring 10 points with 12 rebounds while Kyesha Lewis carried the bench scoring with 10 points. SCSU never trailed the Eagles in their matchup on Tuesday. Blair was named to the 2018 All-MEAC second team after leading her team in scoring with a 15.4 average and has been their top scorer in 17 of 29 contests played. Blair had 18 points but turned the ball over five times against the Aggies in the Bulldogs’ Feb. 10 loss to N.C. A&T. The Bulldogs shot just 28.3 percent from the floor and 59.4 percent from the free throw line in the February 10.
NEWS & NOTES
N.C. A&T and S.C. State last met in the 2010 MEAC Tournament quarterfinals with the Bulldogs pulling out a 61-60 upset win over the top-seeded Aggies in Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The teams have met four times in the conference tournament with S.C. State leading the series 3-1. The Aggies only victory came in the 1994, a 59-56 win in the tourney semis.
Nationally, the Aggies are ranked in the top-50 in six categories; third in turnovers forced (23.07), sixth in both rebounds per game (44.46) and offensive rebounds per game (17), 16th in 3-point field goal defense (27.5), 18th in field goal percentage (35.7), 25th in turnover margin (5.18), 36th in rebounds (1,245).
N.C. A&T leads the MEAC in five categories; offensive rebounds per game, turnovers forced, rebounds per game, scoring margin and scoring offense (67.4).
C’Coriea Foy ranks 45th in the nation in steals per game averaging (2.57) and 124th in field goal attempts (415). Foy has led the Aggies in both scoring and steals in 12 games this season registering 19 double-digit scoring performances and five 20-plus point games.
Alexus Lessears ranks 61st nationally in rebounds per game (9.2) and 80th in total rebounds (258). She has scored in double figures 12 times and has six double-doubles.