|Aggies cruise into semifinals with win over B-CU||< All News|
|Wednesday, March 12, 2014|
NORFOLK, Va. --- Debbie Smith led a quintet of double-digit scorers as No. 2 North Carolina A&T rolled past No. 7 Bethune-Cookman for a 78-46 win on Wednesday in the MEAC semifinals at the Scope Arena.
Smith scored 11 of her team-high 15 points in the second half and added three assists for the Aggies (24-5), who will take on the winner of Thursday’s game between No. 3 Coppin State and No. 11 Maryland Eastern Shore in the tournament semifinals on Friday.
The efforts of Smith were matched by teammates Eboni Ross (12 points, six rebounds), Aprill McRae (12 points, four rebounds), Christina Carter (11 points, four rebounds, five assists) and Ariel Bursey (10 points, six rebounds, five assists).
Bethune-Cookman’s Alea Godfrey paced with a game high 16 points while Taylor Houston pulled down 10 rebounds for the Wildcats (12-18).
“I thought we did a good job with preparation and with focus. We also had a good defensive effort and a lot of players stepped up,” said Aggies head coach Tarrell Robinson after the game.
NC A&T put the game out of reach early on by scoring the game’s first five points and going ahead by double digits by the 12:00 mark with a 15-4 surge to begin the contest. The Aggies’ balanced offensive and defensive display continued to stifle.
Another 14-4 run gave A&T a 21-point advantage (29-8) with 6:45 remaining in the period and the Aggies would lead the Wildcats 38-21 heading into overtime.
Bethune’s fortunes would not improve in the second, as the Aggies opened the period with a three pointer to take a 41-21 lead and never let the Wildcats cut their deficit to less than 20 for the rest of the game.
Overall, A&T handled Bethune in all facets of the game – outrebounding BCU 45-32 (including a 32-24 edge on the defensive glass); assisting on 14 more baskets (19-5) and holding the Wildcats to 30 percent (16-of-52) shooting on the night.
“At this point in the season, we’re very confident. We pride ourselves on being a good defensive team, being disciplined and getting out [ahead] on other teams offensively,” added Robinson. “[Our players] pride themselves on being there for each other and being each others’ crutch, both defensively and offensively.”