PRINCESS ANNE, Md. (JANUARY 20, 2018) – North Carolina A&T has had trouble beating Maryland Eastern Shore lately. Therefore, North Carolina A&T women’s basketball coach Tarrell Robinson decided not to piecemeal the Aggies attack Saturday afternoon.
Instead, he sent Aggies at the MDES Hawks in waves, subbing in five at time throughout the game. As a result, the Aggies had 10 different players score in a 57-45 win at Hytche Center. The win snapped the Aggies four-game losing streak to the Hawks. The Aggies last win over the Hawks came at the Hytche Center, a 73-63 win on Feb. 1, 2014. In Saturday’s win, senior Kala Green and sophomore Cinia McCray led the group scoring with nine points apiece. Sophomore Le’on Hill was the top rebounder with 11, and sophomore Shantell Bostick dished out six assists. Hill played the most minutes, 28, while McCray played the fewest (14).
N.C. A&T (9-7) has now won five straight and they sit atop the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference standings at 4-0 with Bethune-Cookman in what looks like it is going to be an entertaining race with two other teams – Hampton and Norfolk – still undefeated in the conference at 3-0.
“I’m proud of this team, I’m proud of this win and I’m glad we’re still undefeated in conference play,” said Robinson, who saw the Aggies improve to 4-0 in the MEAC for the first time in his six-year tenure. “It has been a while since we have been able to get a win over Eastern Shore. It was a hurdle we needed to get over.”
In beating MDES, the Aggies not only shared the offensive responsibilities, but they also swarmed the Hawks (4-14, 1-5 MEAC) defensively. The Aggies made it tough on MDES all night, holding the Hawks to 24.2 percent shooting. Offensive rebounding helped the Hawks stay in the game as they outscored the Aggies 15-3 in second chance points, but the Aggies would finally start making the Hawks pay for their misses in the third quarter.
Robinson used some of his quicker players such as sophomores C’Coriea Foy, Mikaya Wilson, Chrishyanah Alston and Bostick to take advantage of the MDES long misses. Robinson said he knew the Hawks would try to shoot their way back into the game from the perimeter. He told his team the long misses would be their opportunity to get out and run. They listened.
Wilson started the fun out on the break with a layup on a pass from senior Kayla Green. Wilson was fouled on the play and converted the free throw for the 3-point play to give the Aggies a 31-25 lead with 4:49 to play in the third quarter. The Aggies went running again when Green found senior Quenswayla Story open for a short jump shot and a 34-26 Aggies lead. N.C. A&T went ahead by double figures for the first time in the game as Bostick grabbed a defensive rebound and raced down the floor to set up Alston who then set up Foy for a layup and a 38-28 lead with 2:18 to go in the third.
Alston finished off the quarter by scoring on back-to-back baskets to give the Aggies a 44-33 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Aggies shot 50 percent in the third. In the fourth, MDES’ Martha Thompson got the Aggies lead under 10 for the final time in the game as she followed her own miss to get the Hawks to within nine at 44-35 with 8 ½ minutes remaining in the game. But the Aggies turned to their two seniors to put the Hawks away.
Green took a pass from McCrary and didn’t hesitate to put an open shot from three that explosively went through the net for a 47-35 Aggies lead. Another Story jumper gave the Aggies their biggest lead of the game, 14, at 49-35 with 6:50 to play.
“It’s real important that we’re able to get contributions from so many people, especially at this point in the season,” said Robinson. “I knew we had back-to-back games coming up, and I looked at how we performed against Morgan State with some of our young women playing heavy minutes last Saturday. As a result, we turned around and came out flat against Coppin State on Monday. I wanted to spread out the minutes a little more to make sure everyone got important minutes. I think that helped us win tonight.”
Jordyn Smith led the Hawks with 12 points and 11 rebounds. The Aggies will try to pick up another road win as they travel to Washington, D.C., to face the Howard Bison (7-11, 3-2 MEAC) Monday night at 5:30.