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A&T sees magical run end against Troy


Aggie senior D’Mya Tucker (guard) takes a shot on the basket. Tucker suffered an injury during the 3rd Round of the WNIT played at Corbett Sports Center. Photo by Joe Daniels/Carolina Peacemaker.[/caption]The North Carolina A&T women’s basketball team is not headed to the WNIT Elite 8. That hope ended with the Aggies’ 89-75 loss to the Troy Trojans at Corbett Sports Center Friday night (March 29).

Eighty-nine points are the most surrendered by the Aggies to a non-Power Five school since Elon scored 90 on Nov. 13, 2017. The loss ends the 2023-24 season for A&T. The Aggies finished 22-12 overall, tying the program record for games played in a season after the 2009-10 Aggies played 34 games.

But what the Aggies gained from their run in the postseason WNIT greatly outweighed a Friday night loss on the east side of Greensboro. For a week in late March, A&T women’s basketball contributed to the national excitement surrounding the women’s game. The Aggies drew crowds of more than 3,000 for the three consecutive games it hosted at the 5,000-seat Corbett Sports Center.

It had never been done before. And these were not sit-on-their-hands crowds. They were raucous, cheering-loud crowds complete with rally towels, streamers, and the like. A&T head women’s basketball coach Tarrell Robinson hopes to build upon this after completing his sixth 20-win season in 12 years as the Aggies’ headman. “It creates a buy-in,” Robinson said about the Aggies’ run to the WNIT Super 16 with wins over UNC Greensboro and Old Dominion. “It creates a fanbase because it shows Lady Aggie Basketball has a good show to put on. For those who are returning (players), I hope the commitment in the summer, the commitment in the preseason, the commitment once we start playing, and the commitment during conference pushes us where we need to go.

“What we did here was great because it wasn’t so much talking about it. They lived it. They knew that we were right there.”

A&T had its opportunities against the fast-place Trojans. The Trojans compiled 24 first-half fast-break points, taking a 48-39 lead into the locker room. Troy led by as many as 14 in the first half, but the Aggies forced the Trojans into a calmer tempo in the second half.

A Jordyn Dorsey score and-1 sparked the Aggies and their crowd as she cut the Trojans’ lead to 59-51 with five minutes to play in the third quarter. Thirty seconds later, the Aggies got out in transition as Dorsey found freshman Paris Locke on the break for a layup to cut the deficit to six. Junior Laila Acox then powered her way to the basket to cap the Aggies 7-0 run, cutting the Troy lead to 59-55 with four minutes to play in the third.

Troy’s Leilani Guion ended the run with a transition layup, but on the other end, 6-foot-4 center Chaniya Clark followed her miss to keep the Aggies to within four. But the Trojans scored the quarter’s final six points to take a 69-59 lead into the fourth.

However, A&T kept fighting. Dorsey ended the Trojans’ spurt with a bucket to open the fourth quarter. With seven minutes to play, she netted a pull-up jumper in the lane to cut Troy’s lead to 72-65. Two Maleia Bracone free throws brought the Aggies to within five with six minutes to play.

“I was trying to be more aggressive in the second half because I was in foul trouble early,” said Dorsey, a first-team All-CAA performer and an HBCU All-American. “I had to play smart and lead my team the best way I could. It was my job to make sure everyone stayed together so we could try to get our end goal.”

Despite their best efforts, A&T could not realize the end goal this time. After Bracone’s two free throws, Troy got hot again. The Trojans made three straight buckets, including two on the break, to take a 78-67 lead with five minutes to play. A&T never got any closer than nine the rest of the way as the Trojans advanced to face Louisiana-Monroe Monday night in Troy, Ala.

Dorsey led the Aggies with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists. Clark had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Locke came off the bench to post 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists on 6-for-9 shooting. Makayia Hallmon led the Trojans with 21 points.

“They buy into their fast-paced style of play,” said Robinson. They wore us down. I thought we gave great effort, but at some point, the body starts to give in even though the mind is trying to tell it to go. I am proud of this group. We thought we were done at the CAA tournament, but we took advantage of the life we had at the WNIT, and I’m thankful for that. The future is bright for Lady Aggie Basketball.”