TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (February 24, 2018) – Finally, everyone can now talk about North Carolina A&T versus Bethune-Cookman in women’s basketball without worry they are looking to far ahead. The two teams have been on a collision course for some time to help settle the issue on who will be the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular-season champion.
N.C. A&T took (18-8, 13-1 MEAC) care of their end of the bargain with an impressive 73-52 win over Florida A&M Saturday at the Lawson Center. Bethune-Cookman (22-4, 14-0 MEAC) blew out Savannah State to make the battle for first official. Moore Gymnasium in Daytona Beach, Fla., will be the site for the game Monday at 5:30 p.m.
“I am excited about what's next,” said N.C. A&T coach Tarrrell Robinson. “We want this opportunity. You always want to give yourself that chance of seeing if you are good enough to be the No.1 team in the league, so we are excited about going down to Daytona Beach and hopefully we will be ready to play.”
The Aggie duo of sophomores Cinia McCray and C’Coriea Foy combined for 31 points. McCray finished with a team-high 18 points leading the Aggies in scoring for the seventh time this season while Foy scored 13 points notching her 18th double-digit scoring game. The Aggies made 47 percent of their field goals against the Rattlers, shooting their second highest field goal percentage of the season.
"I thought we got out to an excellent start,” said Robinson. “We shot the ball well, played great defense and was able to get a big win down here at FAMU in their gym.”
FAMU experienced what many have experienced before them, a tenacious Aggies defense. N.C. A&T held the Rattlers to 22 percent shooting in the first half after being held to only seven made shots. The Aggies defense forced 11 turnovers while their offense shot 51 percent from the field paced by Foy and McCray. Foy went 6-for-9 in the half with 13 points and McCray hit a pair of 3-pointers to post 10 first-half points.
N.C. A&T led 18-16 after the opening quarter but quickly turned up the pressure in the next period. The Aggies scored five straight points on a jumper by senior Quenswaya Story followed by a 3-pointer by McCray to take a 23-16 lead. FAMU made one of their two second-quarter field goals to stop the early Aggies run but were then held scoreless for five minutes. In that span, the Aggies scored 10 unanswered points behind sophomore Alexus Lessears and freshman Morgan Battie.
Lessears had six points and Battie contributed four by attacking the basket. After a pair of free throws by FAMU at the 2:05 mark, McCray drained a 3-pointer to extend N.C. A&T’s lead to 38-20 before going into the locker ahead 42-22 at the half.
“We settled in and our ladies did a great job of understanding our scout,” Robinson said about the second quarter effort. “We sped them up a little bit and changed that to transition baskets. That's our game. We are going to continue to use our defense to create easy transition because that is the best way for us to score.”
In the third period, the Aggies outscored the Rattlers 12-2 in bench scoring. Junior Charnise Tyler had five points with graduate Jade Scaife and senior Kala Green chipping in with two points apiece. By the time Scaife hit a jump shot to give the Aggies a 61-30 lead with 2:52 remaining, the Aggies were in the midst of a runaway as the cruised to their sixth straight win.
Tyler led the bench scoring with nine points and eight rebounds. Green had eight points, four assists while Wilson finished with six points and five assists. FAMU’s high scorer was Florence Ouattara with 13 points.