NCCU breaks losing streak

Feb. 18, 2013 @ 08:02 AM

Finally.

N.C. Central got its first women’s basketball win of the season on Saturday, doing it on the road in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference against Savannah State.

The Lady Eagles beat the Tigers 43-38, giving first-year NCCU coach Vanessa Taylor her first win at the school.

“We were able to put offense and defense together throughout the game,” Taylor said. “We made some plays on both ends of the floor, and we turned our defense up at the end of the second half.”

Savannah State (7-16, 2-8 MEAC) was very athletic, but NCCU was able to turn defensive stops into offense, Taylor said.

NCCU did a better job of taking care of the basketball, too, Taylor said.

Like a good senior, Chasidy Williams was there for NCCU with a game-high 14 points.

NCCU freshman Aja Hoyle scored 13, and freshman Tisha Dixon was big on the boards with 12 rebounds for the Eagles.

The Eagles had a case of the nerves as the game drew to a close, Williams said.

“We were biting our nails, but we were so excited,” Williams said. “We just knew it was our time. I guess you can say we were a little nervous, but we weren’t going to let that stop us from winning.

“It felt great to see all my teammates’ faces after that win.”

It’s been a long season for NCCU (1-23, 1-10 MEAC).

The Eagles, in fact, hadn’t won since last season when they, again, found a way to beat Savannah State on Feb. 11, 2012. Saturday’s win over the Tigers allowed the Eagles’ program to turn the page on 29 straight losses.

“Now that we’ve gotten a win, it’s like a shark,” Taylor said. “There’s blood in the water, and now you become even hungrier as the next opportunity comes up.”

NCCU drops in on S.C. State tonight (5:30 p.m., nccueaglepride.com) before hosting rival N.C. A&T on Saturday.

Williams is a redshirt senior and was with NCCU taking myriad lumps while transitioning to Division I. Wins have been scarce for NCCU, so the victory over Savannah State was mighty sweet, she said.

“The feeling was so good,” Williams said. “I want to have the same feeling (today) when we play again, and then I want to have the same feeling Saturday and then the game after that.”

An NCCU win this evening would be Taylor’s 300th career victory.

Taylor was the head coach at Johnson C. Smith before coming to NCCU after Joli Robinson’s coaching contract wasn’t renewed after the Eagles last season went 3-27.

For a change, the NCCU locker room on Saturday didn’t resemble a morgue after a game, although Taylor said the Eagles weren’t rejoicing merely because the winless label that’s been attached to them was removed.

“We’re not approaching the season like that,” Taylor said. “We take each game as a new opportunity.”