Courtesy of North Carolina A&T Athletics
A&T’s win evens the all-time series with Elon at eight games apiece.
EAST GREENSBORO – What an excellent beginning to a new era in conference affiliation for the North Carolina A&T women’s basketball team Friday night. The Aggies overcame a slow start to earn their first-ever Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) win, 67-50, over the Elon Phoenix at Corbett Sports Center.
In the process, A&T improved to 7-5 overall. Meanwhile, the Phoenix lost its sixth straight game to fall to 4-8 overall and 0-1 in conference play.
Jazmin Harris recorded her ninth career collegiate double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Four of those double-doubles have come this season, and six have come in an Aggies uniform. In addition, Harris went into the game leading the CAA in field goal percentage, and she ranked fourth in the league blocked shots. She was 7-for-11 from the floor and blocked four shots against the Phoenix Friday night.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Elon) coach Charlotte Smith. Their teams have been to the NCAA and have won the CAA,” said A&T coach Tarrell Robinson. “This is a big win for us to start the CAA.”
The first 3 1/2 minutes of the CAA era for A&T didn’t go so well. Elon took a 9-0 lead over that span, which included a Kamryn Doty 3-pointer. It forced Robinson to call a timeout.
“I told them that we dug a hole for ourselves,” Robinson said. “We talked about setting the tone, and we’re not doing the things that we focused on in practice. They came out of the timeout, made a little run, and made it a game again.”
And they did it in a hurry. A&T scored the game’s next 10 points over the next two minutes to capture the lead at 10-9. Lenaejha Evans’ jumper gave Elon the lead again before Talia Davis followed her miss with a tip-in to provide A&T with a 12-11 with 2:56 remaining in the first quarter. Even though the two teams played a highly-competitive game for most of the night, the Aggies never trailed again after the Davis layup.
When junior guard Maleia Bracone found Jordyn Dorsey open on the wing for a 3-pointer that Dorsey netted with mere seconds remaining in the first half, the Aggies went into the locker room leading 28-24. Dorsey ended her evening with 14 points, four assists, and three steals on 6-for-10 shooting. Harris scored seven of the Aggies 12 points during the second quarter.
But as impressive as A&T’s showing was on offense, shooting 49 percent for the game, 5-for-10 from 3-point range and 73 percent (16-for-22) from the free throw line, the Aggies defense became the catalyst for the historic win.
After Chloe Williams’s 3-pointer cut the Aggies lead to five, 42-37, going into the fourth quarter, the Aggies D turned relentless. Elon made only 5 of 15 shots in the fourth quarter, 1 of 7 from 3-point range, and turned the ball over seven times. On the flip side, the Aggies made all eight shots from the floor in the fourth, and they sealed the win by going 8-for-10 from the line.
When D’Mya Tucker dove to the floor for a loose ball and then rolled it over to Bracone for a corner three, it completed the Aggies 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter, giving the Aggies their largest lead of the game at 49-37 with 8 1/2 minutes to play.
Elon never got any closer than nine the rest of the way. Raven Preston led the Phoenix with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Bracone added 13 points and three steals on 5-for-8 shooting from the floor and 3-for-4 shooting from three. Tucker added 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Next Game: at College of Charleston 1/1/2023 | 2 p.m.