The crowd’s energy could be heard on the outside walls of McDougald-McLendon Arena during the N.C. Central University doubleheader against rival N.C. A&T on Jan 26. The seats were filled with cheering NCCU students, faculty and alumni to witness the highly-anticipated Mid Eastern Athletic Conference game.
The doubleheader against A&T began with the Lady Eagles at 2 PM, but they weren’t able to end with a win. Both teams fought to the win and bragging rights on the court with only two ties occurring during the game. In the end, NC A&T came out victorious, ending in a score of (52-49).
Junior forward Paulina Afriyie led the Eagles with a total of nine points and a team-high of 11 rebounds. Freshman forward Kiyana Brown matched Afriyie’s numbers of rebounds and added five blocks of her own.
One cause of NCCU‘s loss was the lack of free throws made in the second half compared to the first half. In the first half of the game, the Eagles ended with a 69 percent free throw percentage. However, in the second half, the Eagles only managed to make 50 percent of their attempts.
Despite coming up short, The Lady Eagles showed promise defensively and optimistic towards the future. Both players and fan were still in high energy when the game ended.
“I enjoy coming back and watching the women’s basketball team,” said NCCU alumnus and former Sound Machine band member Xavier Daughtery. “They always have smiles on their faces despite the turn of the game.”
The men’s basketball team tried to avenge the ladies’ loss but fell short to the Aggies, 51-48.
Intensity was high with four ties occurring in the first half. The Aggies lead before the halftime intermission with a score of 31-26.
The second half of the game was a test for every player on the court to show who really wanted the win. The energy felt from both teams make it easy to remember why they were rivals.
The Eagles were only six points behind when Junior guard Randy Miller scored four points bringing the Eagles closer by 2. Miller utilized the energy coming from the fans and teammates to finish with a game-high 21 points along with seven rebounds, but his effort wasn’t enough to send the Aggies back to Greensboro with a loss.
Despite the loss, NCCU men’s basketball coach Levelle Moton remained positive and saw the defeat as an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and use the game as motivation for future games during the season.
Both NCCU teams have continued their conference play traveling to Savannah State, Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M. Each game ended with close scores.The Lady Eagles (3-6, 6-16 overall) have won two of their last three games while the men’s basketball team (5-4 ,10-13 overall) have struggled to earn a win with two consecutive losses added to their record.
The Eagles will get a chance at redemption when they face off against the Aggies for the conference finale in Greensboro on March 7.