A Milestone For Ms. Robinson

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: January 6, 2010

DURHAM, N.C. — North Carolina Central University head women’s basketball coach Joli Robinson notched her 200th career win as the Lady Eagles (3-11) claimed a 67-58 victory over Winston-Salem State University (2-11) Tuesday night in McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium.

“I never would have thought that I would have made it to 100 wins and now to 200 wins, which is very special,” said Robinson. “You just never know if you can do that because you never know what each season is going to bring you”

“I have just been blessed to have the teams that I have had here at North Carolina Central. The kids have really played well and when you have good kids, good things happen to you. I have just been very blessed.”

It was a bittersweet moment for Robinson, who had to put her loyalty aside as she faced her alma mater. Earning her 200th win was special, but earning it against a school she holds so dear to her heart made it even sweeter. The Charlotte, N.C. native made history as she became the winningest coach in program history. She is the first coach in NCCU women’s basketball history to hit the 200-win plateau.

“It was bittersweet and it was tough, but you have to do what you have to do,” continued Robinson. “I will always have Winston-Salem State in my heart, no matter what happens, but I work for North Carolina Central and my job is to win basketball games here and that is what we are going to do.”

Latoya Bennett recorded her first double-double of the season and the 10th of her career with 13 points and 11 rebounds as she went 4-for-10 from the field. She was one of four Lady Eagles to notch double-figures in scoring. Joanna Miller led the way with 24 points, her ninth 20-point performance of the season

Blaire Houston put on her third consecutive double-digit scoring performance with 14 points, while her partner in crime Danielle DeBerry was one rebound shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.

NCCU lit it up from behind the arc, shooting an impressive 58.3 percent from 3-point land, their best performance of the season and their best outing since Jan. 2, 2009, where they hit 60 percent from long range.

It was their best performance from 3-point range when attempting more than 10 shots from behind the arc since Jan. 10, 2004 against Saint Augustine’s, where they hit 63.3 percent.

The Lady Eagles went 43.4 percent from the field and 63.6 percent from the line. They scored 17 points off of 19 turnovers and dominated in second chance points, 14-7. Throughout the game, there were seven tie scores and nine lead changes with most of those coming in the first half.

Once again, the Lady Eagles protected the basketball with only 17 turnovers on the night. Defensively, they forced 19 Lady Ram turnovers and had 11 steals. NCCU dominated on the glass, out-rebounding WSSU, 35-29, with 12 of those rebounds coming off of offensive boards. Bennett had five offensive rebounds herself.

The first half was more of a tug-o-war battle for both teams with five tie scores and six lead changes. Bennett had seven of her 11 rebounds in the first half, while Houston scored 10 of her 14 points in the first half. The Lady Eagles were headed for an outstanding performance from behind the arc after going a perfect 4-for-4 in the half.

NCCU trailed 32-29 at the break, but that didn’t last long. The Lady Eagles took control of the game at the 14:25 mark and never looked back. Winston-Salem stayed within striking distance for awhile, but the Lady Eagles started to pull away, leading by as many as 12 at the 3:59 mark after an 18-6 run, which put NCCU up, 57-45.

The Lady Rams continued to battle, getting within eight with 2:27 left in regulation. NCCU refused to go down, extending their lead to 11 at the 1:28 mark.

Winston-Salem fought back to get within six with 37 second left on the clock, but time wasn’t on their side as the Lady Eagles closed out the game with three points to win, 67-58.

WSSU had three players notch double-figures with MaLisa Bumpus and Talnesha Kee leading the way with 13 points apiece. Vontisha Woods had a double-double for the Lady Rams with 11 points and 12 rebounds. WSSU battled with NCCU in just about every category, including leading in points in the paint.

The Lady Rams went 43.4 percent from the field and shot 25 percent from long range. They were about even at the charity stripe, but didn’t get as many opportunities as the Lady Eagles more than doubled that in attempts.

NCCU improved to 3-11 on the season as Winston-Salem fell to 2-11 on the season. The Lady Eagles evened the series at 31-31 with the victory. Robinson is now 200-183 in her career as the leader of the Lady Eagles.