A&T women try to close out MEAC era with title

North Carolina A&T is perfect in the MEAC right now. But the regular season success hasn’t always translated into NCAA Tournament runs and that’s what it wants.

Sweeping your rival is always sweet, especially for this NC A&T program. The 2020 season saw NCCU sweep A&T in the regular season and banish it from the MEAC Tournament just before COVID put an end to it last year. Which was a 180-degree turn from the previous year when A&T did the same to NCCU.

The two teams are set to meet again on Feb. 27th and 28th in Greensboro for what will be A&T’s final home games as members of the MEAC. In between that, it will face a Norfolk State program that ended its season during the 2019 tournament in Norfolk when everyone had all but carved out A&T’s name in the MEAC championship trophy.

To be fair, this isn’t exactly the same team from those two years. There are a total of 10 players (One walk-on, two transfers and seven freshmen) on this squad that weren’t on the floor on March 12, 2020 when NCCU sent A&T back home.

“When you’ve won, you’ve had consistent success you know what it looks like and you can point out the areas you need to improve in,” Robinson said during preseason Media Day. “It’s not a basketball thing. It’s not an X-0 thing. It’s just a bottom-line, kids gotta not want to skip the process. They gotta take every game serious.”

One player that Robinson has looked to for growth is Deja Winters. Prior to the season Jones pointed out that Winters’ scoring averaged dipped from 18 points per game heading into MEAC play to 11 points per game by the end of the year. 

“I don’t know if that’s Deja not taking the MEAC serious because she played well against Power Five schools, but I guarantee this year she will,” said the head coach of the 2016 and 2018 MEAC tournament women’s champions.

Winters is averaging 14.4 points per game this season to lead A&T. She’s had some up-and-down moments, but she had her best game of the season on Saturday against NCCU with 26 points on 10-for-15 shooting.

One player that Robinson expected to lean on was Scott. She’s held up to his expectations on the court, averaging 13.2 points and 9.1 rebounds and two steals per game. But it is the things that can’t be measured in statistics that had Robinson excited to have him in the program.

“When we got Chanin, we immediately got a” culture” kid,” he said. “Not just a talent, but a young lady that does things the right way. That you don’t have to worry about what she’s doing and what she’s saying  when you’re not around.”
NC A&T would definitely love a final MEAC regular-season championship on its way out. But the big prize will be given out on March 13 in Norfolk, and anything short of that would be incomplete. No one knows that more than Robinson. 

“It was a disappointing year based on expectations. Our own expectations,” Robinson said. “To get back to the top I think it just involves culture and not skipping the process. Leadership, those type of things.”

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A&T women try to close out MEAC era with title
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