Saturday, January 30, 2016

N.C. A&T Aggies Stymie SSU's Offense In Win

GREENSBORO, North Carolina -- Not allowing the other team to score is the foundation on which North Carolina A&T women’s basketball coach Tarrell Robinson is building his program.

His teams have never finished lower than 38th in scoring defense over his four-year tenure. The Aggies who came into Saturday afternoon’s game against Savannah State ranked 11th in the nation in scoring defense, defended their way to a 60-31 win at Corbett Sports Center. Robinson not only feels defense is the foundation, he also believes it is his pathway to winning the program’s first MEAC title in seven years.

“We’ve talked about getting back to our staple and that’s playing great defense and letting it create our offense,” said Robinson. “Tonight showed that we can do that. Hopefully moving forward we can continue to do the same.”

Redshirt junior Dana Brown led the Aggies offensively with 12 points and three assists. Fifth-year senior Christina Carter added 10 points and four assists, while graduate transfer Courtney Powell recorded her first double-double as an Aggie with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

“Courtney is a tremendous athlete,” said Robinson. “She’s still trying to figure out our system, but what she can do is go after the rebound and get a lot of loose balls. I need her to become a better defender, but she can be a double-double machine if she can keep herself on the court.”

Defense seems to be on Robinson mind a lot, and it certainly showed through his team against the Tigers. The Tigers (6-13, 3-5 MEAC) connected on four field goals in the first quarter and held a 9-6 lead after the first. The Tigers only made nine additional field goals the rest of the game. The Tigers’ 31-point output was its lowest in conference play as was their 26 percent shooting.

The Aggies opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run. After Rhianna Warren scored to end the run, the Aggies scored six additional points behind two baskets from Powell to take a 19-11 lead with 4:39 remaining in the half. The Aggies (10-10, 6-3 MEAC) eventually went into the locker room with a 10-point advantage, 25-15, thanks to Brown scoring in transition on a jump shot to end the half.

Brown then opened the second half with a 3-pointer that sparked a 9-0 spurt as N.C. A&T took a 34-15 lead with over the first two minutes of the third quarter. With two minutes remaining in the third, the Aggies lead had increased to 22, 42-20, thanks to a McRae jump shot. The Tigers made only two field goals in the fourth quarter.

Robinson was pleased to see his team bounce back from its disappointing road loss at Coppin State on Wednesday. After three games in one week, Robinson’s team now has a week off before traveling to Durham to play arch-rival N.C. Central at 2 p.m., on Saturday.

“We’re going to try to get to church tomorrow and thank the Lord for this win,” said Robinson. “From there we’re going to let them rest. It’s been a long week. Three games in one week is a lot, so we’ll probably take Sunday and Monday off and get back to work on Tuesday.”



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