Brian Holloway – Associate Athletics Director/Communications
N.C. A&T held Norfolk State to 20 percent shooting
EAST GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T women’s basketball put together a stellar performance for 40 minutes defensively and never allowed Norfolk State a lead in a 49-32 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) win Sunday afternoon at Corbett Sports Center.
Out of the 80 minutes played against the Spartans in two games over the weekend, the Aggies trialed 3 ½ minutes. The Aggies (6-1, 4-0 MEAC) are winners of six “straight and will have two weeks off before their next contest at N.C. Central.
In the meantime, the Aggies can rejoice after making scoring a chore for the Spartans throughout the afternoon. Norfolk State walked into the locker room at the end of the first half with 12 points on 17.4 percent shooting. The Aggies outrebounded the Spartans 53-36 and had an 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.
“Defense is our bread and butter,” said Robinson, who has never finished below .500 in MEAC play in eight seasons. “I thought we did great defensively, but I thought we made some horrible decisions after we made stops.”
N.C. A&T did not complement its great defense with great offense. The Aggies shot 17.9 percent from the floor in the first half and walked into their locker room with 16 points.
“We would get stops and do something stupid with the ball,” said Robinson. “We would do something good defensively, and then we would do something else stupid with the ball. Eventually, after all those mistakes, they score. It takes the air out of what we did on the defensive end.
Defense is our staple. But we obviously have to get better on the offensive end because we know the ‘D’ is going to be there.”
The Aggies did improve offensively in the second half. They shot 37.1 percent from the floor, including 53.3 percent in the fourth quarter. NSU never got it going on offense, shooting 20 percent for the game.
N.C. A&T entered the fourth quarter with only 29 points. E’Lexus Davis cut the Aggies lead to 33-27 by driving the lane and scoring on a layup. But the Aggies began to expand their lead thanks to their defense, which ignited a spark offensively.
N.C. A&T went on a 10-1 culminated when freshman Asjah Inniss found a wide-open Scott in the paint for two points and a 43-28 lead with 2:57 remaining. The Spartans then hit one of their two 3-pointers for the game as Ta’Liyah Edmonds hit one from the corner to cut the Aggies lead to 43-31.
Edmonds jumper would be NSU’s final field goal of the game. Darks put the Spartans (1-5, 0-2 MEAC) away by following her miss for a tip-in and a 47-31 lead with 53 seconds remaining.
“We’re going to rest,” said Robinson about the Aggies next two weeks adding that competing through a pandemic is not easy for his players. “After we rest, we’re going to fine-tune what we do offensively and get our chemistry together. Then, we have to continue to develop our bench.”
N.C. A&T’s defense looks like it is in tip-top condition. NSU did not get their first field goal until the 3:52 mark of the first quarter. But thanks to a 3-pointer by NSU’s Armani Franklin, the Spartans only trailed 9-7 at the end of the first quarter.
A Scott made jump shot put the Aggies lead back to five points, 7-2, but the Spartans first basket of the game, a layup after a turnover, cut the lead to three points, 7-4, with 3:52 remaining in the first quarter.
Both teams struggled to score in the second quarter. The two teams combined for 4-for-23 shooting (.174) in the second quarter. Niya Fields cut the Aggies lead to 13-11 after scoring in the lane with 29 seconds remaining in the first half. But Inniss scored the final three points of the half to give the Aggies a 16-12 halftime advantage.
Mangela Ngandjui led the Spartans with seven points to go along with a game-high 17 rebounds and three blocks.
N.C. A&T heads to Durham to play rival N.C. Central, Jan. 30 and 31 at McDougald-McLendon Arena. Tip-time for both games is 2 p.m.