GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T is headed south this week. The women’s basketball team was awarded a 15th seed in the 64-team NCAA tournament field and will play defending national champion South Carolina in an Albany Region first-round game at USC’s Colonial Life Arena.
The Gamecocks (26-6) are the No. 2 seed and will play the Aggies (23-8) at 7:30 p.m., Friday. The winner moves on to the second round to face the winner of No. 7 California/No. 10 Virginia contest on March 18.
“My young ladies are excited and humbled to have the opportunity to compete against the 2017 national champions,” said Aggies coach Tarrell Robinson. “We think our culture and daily values are on track for our program to continue to play in games such these. Now my young women get to see if what we focus on every day in practice and talk about daily measures up to a program that has been to the top of the mountain in this sport.”
N.C. A&T won their fourth Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship Basketball Tournament, earning its fourth NCAA appearance including three in the past nine seasons. The Aggies are also the MEAC co-regular-season champs with a 15-1 mark.
The Aggies have won 11 straight and 19 of their last 20. They took down a Hampton team with six MEAC titles in nine years with a 72-65 win in the conference tournament championship game on Saturday.
Led by the conference tournament’s MOP senior guard Kala Green, the Aggies ranked first in the MEAC in assists (442), offensive rebounds per game (17), rebounds (1.392), rebounds per game (67.0) and in turnovers forced (23.03). N.C. A&T’s 14.3 assists per game, 35.1 field goal percentage defense, 684 free throw attempts, 4.0 rebound margin, 5.13 turnover margin and 74.2 win-loss percentage all rank second in the conference.
Robinson will coach in his second NCAA tournament game after leading the Aggies there in 2016. They lost to No. 1 seed Notre Dame 95-61 in a first-round game at Purcell Pavilion on March 19, 2016 in South Bend.