EAST GREENSBORO – The North Carolina A&T women’s basketball team has earned an automatic qualifying bid to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). The Aggies will play 7 p.m., Friday in a first-round matchup at James Madison in Harrisonburg, Va.
The Aggies (20-11) head into the tournament as the regular-season Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champion thus earning the conference’s automatic qualifying bid for winning the regular season. N.C. A&T not only won the regular season, but they also went 16-0 in the league to finish undefeated in the MEAC for the first time in program history. The Aggies missed out on an opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years and for the second year in a row when they lost to Norfolk State in the MEAC semifinals.
In losing to the Spartans, the Aggies had their 28-game winning streak against MEAC opponents snapped. The Aggies will head into the WNIT having won 17 of their last 18 games. The Aggies have also won three out of the last four regular-season titles in the MEAC.
N.C. A&T will be making their fifth WNIT appearance (2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2019) and their first appearance in five years.
“We’re excited to still be playing this late in the season,” said N.C. A&T coach Tarrell Robinson who will lead the Aggies into the postseason (NCAA or WNIT) for the fifth time in his seven-year tenure in AggieLand. “We earned the opportunity for postseason play through what was a terrific regular season, so we want to make the best of our opportunity to play James Madison. We have our eyes are on advancing in this tournament.”
Robinson gave his team two days off following their upset loss to the Spartans. Robinson says the loss is behind them and it will need to be because they are playing a James Madison team that was in the running to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Dukes are 25-5 overall and 17-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association. They were upset in their tournament by No. 9 seed Hofstra in the first round. The Dukes are tough defensively. They rank second in the nation field goal percentage defense and third in the nation in blocked shots and scoring defense. JMU is 14-0 at home this season and has won 27 in a row at home with their last home loss coming to No. 13 Florida State on Dec. 3, 2017.
N.C. A&T has finished undefeated on the road in the MEAC over the past two seasons. N.C. A&T holds a 2-3 record in WNIT postseason games.