NORFOLK, Va., — North Carolina A&T State struggled at the free throw line through most of the game, but made them when they counted, converting nine of 12 in the overtime period to pull out a 72-65 win over Hampton in the finals of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Tournament (MEAC) women’s championship at the Norfolk Scope Arena.

As a result, the Aggies (23-8) receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and await the pairings next week.

Hampton (18-14), the No. 3 seed, took control of the game early mostly because the Aggies got off to a slow start and missed a number of easy shots.

The Aggies worked their way back into the game and trailed 29-23 at the intermission. Jephany Brown and Ashley Bates each scored 10 points for the Lady Pirates, who limited N.C. A&T to 28 percent shooting but failed to take control due to 10 first-half turnovers.

North Carolina A&T State, the top seed, used a 10-2 run to take its first lead of the game at 33-31 at the 3:40 mark. The Aggies threatened to take control, building a 10-point lead at 41-31 before the Pirates closed the gap to 42-37 headed into the fourth quarter.

“I think that we got caught up in the moment and were hesitant to start the game,” said Aggies head coach Tarrell Robinson, who was named the tournament Most Outstanding Coach. “Hampton is an experienced team, but we were able to weather the storm and play better in the second half.”

Taking advantage of Hampton turnovers and using their bench and size advantage to control the boards, the Aggies again opened a 10-point lead at 54-44 with 4:27 left. For the game, the Aggies held a whopping 45-11 advantage in bench points and scored 24 points off Hampton miscues.

“We have been the best offensive rebounding team in the conference all year,” Robinson said. “It gave us more opportunities and that made a difference today.”

But the feisty Lady Pirates would not go away, using a 13-3 run to send the game into an extra period.
The two teams went back and forth for the first two minutes until the Aggies, who missed 13 free throws in regulations, finally began to hit them and closed out the win at the charity stripe.

Jade Scaife paced the Aggies with 15 points, while Mikaya Wilson and Kala Green added 12 each and C’Coriea Foy chipped in with 10 in a losing effort.

Hampton was led by Jephany Brown with a game-high 22 points and Bates and Sayle with 12 and 10, respectively.

All-Tournament Team
Angel Golden, Bethune-Cookman
Ashley Bates, Hampton
Mikayla Sayle, Hampton
Kala Green, North Carolina A&T State
Alexus Lessears, North Carolina A&T State

Most Outstanding Performer
Kala Green, North Carolina A&T State

Most Outstanding Coach
Tarrell Robinson, North Carolina A&T State

Courtesy: MEAC


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