GREENSBORO - How did North Carolina A&T women's
basketball coach Tarrell Robinson earn his first career win?
"Amber Calvin finally woke up," Robinson simply stated.
The flashy combo guard out of Fayetteville, N.C., came off
the bench to score 19 points and dish out five assists on 4-for-7 shooting from
3-point range to lead the Aggies to a 66-57 win over Iona at Corbett Sports
Center on Friday. Calvin's performance helped the Aggies avenge a 16-point loss
to the Gaels in New Rochelle, N.Y., last season.
Calvin came into the game a combined 1-for-12 from the floor
in the Aggies first two games. But with the Aggies trailing 20-10 with nine
minutes remaining in the first half, Calvin came in as a playmaker and
eventually morphed into a scorer. Calvin's assist to Nikia Gorham led to a
3-point play, and minutes later her first 3-pointer of the game pulled the
Aggies to within two at 20-18.
Iona had trouble finding Calvin in its zone most of the
night. Her 11-point, four-assist first half helped the Aggies go into the locker
room with a 33-30 halftime lead. She continued to find open spots in the second
half. Calvin's 3-pointer from the corner gave the Aggies a 51-44 advantage. It
also ignited a 13-0 that led to a 61-44 A&T advantage with less than eight
minutes to play. Juniors Tracy King and DeAndra Davis led the way during the
spurt as they scored five points apiece.
"Amber struggled in our first two scrimmages and in our
first two games," said Robinson. "But I keep playing her because she has proven
over the years that eventually her shots will fall like they did today. She
played huge for us, and it really made a difference in this game."
Robinson said he is
comfortable with his preseason All-MEAC guard coming off the bench. Calvin has
accepted her role, according to the first-year coach, something he greatly
"The young lady (Adriana Nazario) that plays in front of
her, right now, is a better defender," said Robinson. "I told my team I want to
start my five best defensive players. Today shows why I think it will work."
The Aggies (1-2) also had their best rebounders on the
floor. A&T outrebounded the Gaels 29-18 in the second half to pull away.
The Aggies 13 second-half offensive rebounds led to a 12-2 second chance points
advantage for A&T.
"Coming into the
game, we definitely felt like we had the size advantage, so we wanted to kill
them on the boards," said Robinson. "We had 32 points in the paint, so I
definitely think that made a difference in the game."
The Gaels (2-1) did close the Aggies lead to seven, 62-55,
on a Cassidee Ranger 3-pointer with 1:38 remaining. But after a 30-second
timeout, A&T point guard Jessica Lyons found a wide open Nikia Gorham
underneath the basket for a game-clinching layup.
King added 11 points
and seven rebounds for A&T. The Gaels were led by Damika Martinez's 20
points and nine rebounds.
Robinson will go for win No. 2 on Tuesday when the Aggies
play at Siena at 11 a.m. Robison did have a reaction to win No. 1.
"There is still work to be done," he said. "I want my first