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NCAA Women's Tournament

NCAA losses don’t dampen successful seasons by N.C. A&T, Jackson State

They lost big to NC State and Baylor in Round 1 of the women’s NCAA tourney

Jackson State and North Carolina A&T women’s basketball teams had terrific seasons, but faced dominating performances from Power 5 stalwarts Baylor and NC State.

Jackson State ended its season with an 18-6 record and 14-1 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. N.C. A&T finished 14-3 and first in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) at 9-1. This was the Aggies’ last season in the MEAC. They will be joining the Big South Conference next season.

No. 2 Baylor 101, No. 15 Jackson State 52

The Tigers ran into a buzzsaw in the Baylor Bears, who jumped out to a 29-10 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back. Baylor dominated JSU on the boards, 59-35, and shot 49.4% from the field, compared with 30.9% for JSU. Baylor led by 27 at halftime, before stretching it out for a 49-point victory. The Bears will face Virginia Tech in the round of 32.

As for the JSU program, head coach Tomekia Reed is proud of the way her team played during such a tumultuous season.

“Our players stayed resilient,” she said after the game. “We had a lot of times where we could’ve gave up. They had a lot of times where they could’ve quit on me. They had a lot of times when they could’ve walked out and just said, ‘You know what, it’s not worth it.’ But they didn’t do that. They were resilient, they were hungry, they wanted to be successful, they wanted to win another championship. … We had a very, very, very good composition this season and very good chemistry on this team, so I’m extremely proud of them.”

Senior Ameshya Williams led the Tigers with 14 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks and said this was an experience she’ll never forget. “I’m going to remember this game the most for how hard I played and my team played. This was a great experience for me to play in the first round, I think this will be the best night I remember.”

No. 1 NC State 79, No. 16 N.C. A&T 58

The Aggies actually led the Wolfpack 37-31 with 4:01 left in the second quarter. However, NC State went on a 13-0 run to close out the first half.

“For about a half, we were able to compete with the No. 3 team in the country,” said N.C. A&T head coach Tarrell Robinson. “I thought that was very good for [our players], us being the sixth-youngest team in the country. They came out in the third quarter like they were supposed to, but I’m excited about the future of our program and I’m excited about how our young women came in here ready to play.”

NC State won that decisive third quarter 20-7 en route to the 21-point victory.

Chanin Scott’s 23 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals led the Aggies.

“This season was challenging with being disciplined,” said Scott. “There was a lot of protocols in place as far as COVID, and especially with having such a young team and me myself being new to the team. We had to be disciplined and make sure that everyone kept the same goal in mind.”

Robinson said his team has been through a lot this season. “Everything that we’ve gone through, this country, this nation has gone through and having to ask my young women to block it out and play their basketball season, that’s what makes getting here special,” he said. “The testing every week, the curfews, the isolations, the limited social part of college, the virtual learning that these young people have had to go through. This is going to be a very memorable year. We overcame a lot and even though we lost, we have a lot to be excited about.”

Jamal Murphy is a sports writer, attorney and executive producer and co-host of the Bill Rhoden On Sports podcast. Jamal has covered and written about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, college basketball, men's and women's tennis, boxing and fantasy sports. This Brooklyn native is a recovering Knicks and Jets fan, but is still hanging in there with the Mets.