Howard University worked to the bitter end for its fourth Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) win of the season, despite a first-half, eight-point lead, as the Lady Aggies of North Carolina A&T State University lost 44-42 to the Lady Bison on Jan. 19 in the Corbett Sports Complex in Greensboro, N.C.
Howard began the first half with a slow start, as Howard senior forward Saadia Doyle led the squad with seven of its eight points 11minutes and 40 seconds into the contest.
Sharpshooter senior forward Kara Smith woke up her shot at the 9:53 mark with a two-pointer in the paint.
Senior forward Nicole Deterville led HU to its first lead of the half with three consecutive drop-step layups for a score of 16-15 by the 4:46 mark. Following a 6-1 run, Howard headed to the locker room with an eight-point lead, 24-16.
Howard returned to the hardwood without its first-half momentum. North Carolina A&T went on a 6-0 run to lead 24-22 by the 17:04 mark.HU appeared unsynchronized, as they couldn't assemble an offensive front and repeatedly turned the ball over.
Doyle broke the Lady Aggie run with a jumper at the 16:04 mark, 26-22.
By the 12:01 mark, on a 7-3 run, the North Carolina Lady Aggies tied the ball game 29-29 for the second deadlock of the afternoon.
The back-and-forth action continued well into the final media timeout of the game, as a long-range basket from North Carolina A&T sophomore forward /guard Ariel Bursey turned a three-point Howard lead into the fifth and final tie for a score of 39-39 at the 3:46 mark.
N.C. A&T then sent Doyle to the charity strip on two occasions, resulting in a four-point Howard lead.
Redshirt junior guard Jerrelle Gorham sent A&T redshirt junior guard Amber Calvin to the free-throw line, to bring the Lady Aggies within four by the 23-second mark. Fellow Aggie Eboni Ross, a redshirt freshman, hit the line and made a single free throw to bring her host squad within one, 43-42.
With less than five seconds left, A&T fouled Howard’s senior forward Kara Smith, creating two 1-and-1 opportunities. Regrettably, the senior missed both chances.
With one second remaining, Curley-Payne sank a basket from the charity stripe securing the 44-42 win.
Doyle finished the contest with her sixth double-double, 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Deterville tallied a season-best nine points. Smith finished with eight points, as senior guard Cheyenne Curley-Payne and sophomore forward Cheyenne Brown gathered four points apiece. Curley-Payne also notched a team-best five assists.
With the win Howard advances to 9-7 on the season and 4-1 in the MEAC.
The team will continue its campaign in North Carolina with a Jan. 21 meeting at 5:30 p.m. with the Lady Eagles of North Carolina Central University in McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium on the NCCU campus.