A&T women put away cold-shooting Lady Eagles
First-year N.C. Central coach Vanessa Taylor got a rough indoctrination into the Aggie-Eagle rivalry, as N.C. A&T cruised to a 67-27 win at Corbett Sports Center on Saturday.
“It’s not what I’m accustomed to,” Taylor said.
Taylor, who previously coached at Johnson C. Smith, arrived at NCCU with 14 straight winning seasons.
NCCU hasn’t had a winning season since the 2006-07 campaign and is coming off a 3-27 run that was capped by Coach Joli Robinson’s contract not being renewed. Taylor stepped inside A&T’s gym looking for her first win as NCCU’s coach, but the Lady Aggies weren’t having it.
“The environment and the energy of the crowd, and just the place, that was a little bit over our heads,” Taylor said. “We’ve got a lot of freshmen and new kids playing, and they just were not ready for the attack that A&T brought to us.”
NCCU junior Tiffany Gary had a game-high 10 rebounds to go with five points.
“We were too overexcited,” Gary said. “We were ready to play. We just have to slow down.”
Despite NCCU sitting at 0-8 after its first game of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schedule, Gary said there’s no sense of déjà vu.
“This year, we actually fight and we’ll fight to the end,” Gary said.
The game pretty much was decided in the first half, when NCCU took 25 shots and A&T 28. The Lady Eagles just didn’t make many of theirs, including NCCU redshirt senior Chasidy Williams missing all three of her shots without getting to the free-throw line.
Williams entered the game as NCCU’s leading scorer at 10.3 points per game.
By contrast, A&T (4-3, 1-0 MEAC) had four players who didn’t miss a shot in the first half, including Tracy King and Jessica Lyons, who both were 4-of-4 from field with two 3-pointers apiece.
That largely is why A&T shot 57.1 percent from the field in the first half, while NCCU was struggling at 24 percent. The Lady Eagles shot even worse in the final 20 minutes at 19.6 percent from the field.
It’s not like Lyons and King had been lighting it up this season. King went into the game averaging 5.6 points per game, and Lyons was at 3.4.
A&T led 42-13 at halftime.
Williams finally got on the scoreboard about five minutes into the second half. She would hit one more basket and four free throws.
That said, Williams actually led NCCU in scoring with those eight second-half points.
“We will regroup as Eagles,” Taylor said.