Second Half Explosion Helps NC A&T Pull Away To Win Over Howard
Washington, D.C. - Asha Santee poured in 20 of her career-high 28 points in the second half, but it was not enough to offset the balanced scoring of attack of North Carolina A&T as the Lady Aggies defeated Howard University, 84-71 in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference women's game at Burr Gymnasium. The win clinched the MEAC regular season title for North Carolina A&T (22-5 overall, 14-0 in the MEAC), which won its 15th straight.
The Lady Bison (3-24 overall, 2-12 in the MEAC) were within striking distance of the champs, trailing 32-28 at the half. But that was as close as they would get as the Lady Aggies took advantage of several miscues and parlayed them into an 11-0 run that gave them momentum.
"It's been mental for us all year," explained a disappointed Howard Coach Cathy Parson. "We were in a great position at the half but we didn't capitalize on our chances. I thought we were lax going to the ball and nobody showed vision on the court." Howard committed five turnovers on its first six possessions and picked up 5 team fouls in the first three minutes of the second half.
Amber Bland and Brittanie James-Taylor combined to make sure that there would be no letdown on their part. Bland scored 14 of her team-high 24 points in the second half and James-Taylor tallied 10 of her 16 after intermission.
NC A&T built a 25-point lead at one point before Howard rallied on the scoring of Santee and freshman Zykia Brown, who scored all 9 of her points in the final 20 minutes. But the hole was too big to dig out of and Howard dropped its fifth straight.
"We've got to keep our heads up," said Santee, who had her finest all-around game with 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. "That will get us out of this slump."
A large part of the Lady Bison's problems stemmed from their lack of scoring from leading scorer Shannon Carlisle and the early foul trouble with junior forward Tamaya Daniels. Carlisle finished with only seven points and Daniels, who has recorded 5 double doubles this season, had 7 points and 3 rebounds in 13 minutes of play.
"Tamaya getting two fouls early really hurt us," said Coach Parson. "We had to sit her because we did not want her to get that third foul. It changed some of our strategy."
Lonice Kenley came off the bench to score all 12 of her points in the first half while Carlisle did grab 7 rebounds, dealt out 7 assists and recorded 4 steals.
The Lady Aggies got 13 from Nancy Rembert and 10 from Lamona Smalley. NC A&T shot 55 percent (17 of 31) in the second half and held a 42-14 advantage on points-in-the-paint while scoring 30 points off 29 Howard turnovers.
"We didn't worry about our opponent," said NC A&T head coach Patricia cage-Bibbs. "All we had to do is play our game and do the things we do well and the championship was ours."
NEXT UP: NC A&T will try to continue its win streak when it travels to Hampton, VA to take on the Lady Pirates of Hampton on Monday at 5:30 pm while the Lady Bison will try to end their current four-game skid when they host the Lady Spartans of Norfolk State at 6 pm. It will be Senior Night for Santee, Carlisle, Reyna Gross and Terease Thornton who will be playing their last home game in a Lady Bison uniform