ANNAPOLIS, Md. (November 24, 2018) – North Carolina A&T women’s basketball has a habit of getting stronger as the season progresses. That looks to be the case as the 2018-19 season moves forward even though the wins have yet to come along with the improved play.
Four days after giving the Virginia Cavaliers of the ACC a tough challenge before losing late, the Aggies did the same in the first game of the Navy Thanksgiving Classic against Maine on Friday before losing 58-52 at the Naval Academy’s Alumni Hall.
The Aggies (1-4) will play the second game of the classic 1 p.m., Sunday against host Navy at Alumni Hall. Juniors Cinia McCray and Alexus Lessears led the Aggies with 10 apiece on Saturday. Lessears added eight rebounds. Five were offensive.
McCray, who recovered nicely from a 1-for-17 shooting day against Virginia on Tuesday, took a pass from freshman Charme Lilly and netted a three to tie the game at 47 with 6:50 to play in the game. The Aggies did not score again over the next 4 ½ minutes, unfortunately. Over that span, the Black Bears (3-2) got a jump shot from Blanca Millan and two 3-pointers from Tanesha Sutton to take a 55-47 lead.
Maine’s run ended on a McCray jump shot and junior C’coriea Foy hit one of two free throws granted to the Aggies because of a Main technical foul. But Maine hit 3 of 4 free throws down the stretch to get the win.
N.C. A&T did the things necessary for success early. Despite trailing 16-15, the Aggies shot 50 percent from the floor, outrebounded Maine 9-4 and they got the ball inside by outscoring the Black Bears 10-2 in the paint. The Aggies hot shooting continued into the second quarter. N.C. A&T was 5-for-7 from the floor including 2-for-3 from 3-point range as they went into the locker room leading 29-27.
The two teams fought through 11 lead changes in the third quarter. Maine took a two-point lead on a Dor Saar 3-pointer before Lilly tied the game for the Aggies going into the fourth quarter on a layup. N.C. A&T hit 11 of their 14 layups on Saturday.
But the Black Bears were 9-for-23 from 3-point range. Sutton led the Black Bears with 17 points.