GREENSBORO - North Carolina A&T women's basketball picked
up its first come-from-behind victory of the year, defeating William & Mary
85-78 on Friday afternoon at Corbett Sports Center.
"I'm glad to have gotten this win going into our break. One of the things we talked about in coming
back from our performance against Charlotte was that we said this here was a
character game," said A&T head coach Tarrell Robinson. "How would we respond? Where was our focus? I told them this was a character game and we
needed to respond."
And respond they did.
Forwards JaQuayla Berry and Tracy King led the way. Berry
scored a season-high 29, grabbed nine rebounds and recorded four steals, while
King added 20 points, five boards and four assists.
Entering into Friday's contest, the Aggies were 0-4 when behind
at the half. They trailed by three at the half, but their situation was even
more critical than just being down at halftime. With 8:10 to play, The Tribe held
a 71-62 lead thanks to a 9-0 run. The run compelled A&T head coach Tarrell
Robinson to call a timeout. A&T regrouped after the timeout and answered
back by going on a 9-0 run, capped off with a layup by Berry to tie the game
with five minutes remaining.
A pair of free throws by sophomore Adriana Nazario gave the
Aggies the lead for good. Senior Nikia
Gorham picked up a key layup to give A&T a 75-71 cushion with 3:34
remaining. Redshirt junior Amber Calvin put the game away for A&T with six
free throws in in the waning minute of the contest.
The game featured 11 lead changes and seven ties, and the
Aggies were able to pull away with some strong press defense in the second
half-something that the team worked on following Tuesday's loss.
"I'm a first-year head coach and I try to learn from
mistakes in decisions I might have made the game before. One of the things I regret-how the Charlotte
game ended," Robinson said, adding that he didn't call the press until three
minutes remaining in the game. In those
three minutes, the Aggies cut their deficit from 20 to 10, but weren't able to
complete the rally.
On Friday, Robinson called for that press earlier in the contest,
which helped propel the Aggies on their 9-0 run.
"I saw them getting into that danger, and I decided to call
in our pressers. Our girls have a lot of
confidence in our press. We went to our
press earlier and we responded," Robinson said. "We turned them over and we
were able to convert off our turnovers and we stayed in it until it was under a
minute and we pulled it off. That was
the difference in the game. It changed
the tempo. They didn't do a good job
handling our pressure."
It was the highest scoring game the Aggies (6-4) have
recorded this season. The team also picked up season-highs with 17 assists,
including six from Nazario, and 19 offensive rebounds. The Aggies also beat the Tribe (2-7) on the
boards, 43-33. It was also the first game featuring two 20-point performances
by A&T since Feb. 25, when Amber Calvin had 23 and Tiffanie Adair had 20 in
a 40-point victory at S.C. State. Calvin
finished Friday's game with 12, after going 6-for-6 from the line in the second
"It was a team effort-everybody played, everybody
contributed. My hat goes off to JaQuayla
Berry. Our seniors did a lot of good
things," said Robinson. "I thought Dri (Nazario),
just like Liberty, responded to adversity.
Tracy King kept us in early and Amber Calvin finished it with free
throws. It was definitely a team effort,
and everybody contributed to the victory."
Robinson is still
looking for the Aggies to continue to improve and develop their defensive
work. The Aggies allowed Emily Correal
to score a team-best 30 points for the Tribe, and Aldridge finished with 21
points for William & Mary.
"I was really disappointed with our post defense. We've got to do better in reference to making
adjustments," he said.
In the first half, A&T took a 36-30 lead on back-to-back
3-pointers from King with just under five minutes remaining. The Tribe fought back and took a slim
two-point lead before King tied it at 44 with 8.8 seconds left in the first
half on a pair of free throws. William
& Mary got the ball, and a 3-pointer from Aldridge, who went 6-for-10
beyond the arc in the game, beat the buzzer to give the Tribe a 47-44 lead at
The Aggies will enjoy the holiday break before traveling up
to Blacksburg, Va. to take on Virginia Tech on Friday, Dec. 28 at 2 p.m. They Aggies are 2-0 in their last two matches
against Virginia teams.