The Lady Hawks stepped into Gaither Gymnasium Monday night with one thing in mind-ending the Rattlerettes’ two game winning streak.
“We lost to Bethune- Cookman and this was a must win game for us,” said Maryland Eastern Shore forward Zereena Stephens, “I think we played much better. This is how we should play every game.”
Pulling down 33 offensive and 26 defensive rebounds, the Lady Hawks of Maryland Eastern Shore defeated the Rattlerettes, 61-54.
The biggest problem for the ladies of FAMU came within the battle of the boards. The Rattlerettes shot well, executing 40.7 percent from the field, while the Lady Hawks shot a mere 25 percent.
Florida A&M gave Maryland Eastern Shore several shooting opportunities and free throw attempts. The Lady Hawks were able to rack in 19 points from the line and 16 points off of second chance shots. “They tore us up rebounding,” said junior center Kim Watson who grabbed 10 boards for the game, “That is the only thing that caused us to lose the game-rebounding.”
Although the game appeared to be close the entire time, the Rattlerettes only led four times in the first half. The lead never exceeded two points.
With 9:04 remaining in the first half Candace Crawford took a feed from fellow freshman Diedre Tyus and hit a jumper to bring the score to 21-20. In the next play Maryland Eastern Shore’s Octavia Thompson scored from downtown to regain the lead for the Lady Hawks.
After three attempted jumpers by the Lady Hawks, Neisha Cameron pulled down the rebound and Watson hit a lay-up at 6:41 to tie it up at 25. The Rattlerettes trailed Maryland Eastern Shore for the rest of the half.
With seven seconds remaining in the first half, Thompson of the Lady Hawks stole the ball from Cameron and drew a foul from Crawford. She was sent to the line and made one of two free throws. Thompson extended the Lady Hawks’ lead to three; the score at the half was 29-32.
FAMU played well in the first half. The Rattlerettes out-shot the Maryland Eastern Shore by 21.8 percent but the Lady Hawks managed to grab 28 total rebounds.
After the halftime break the Rattlerettes were able to once again obtain the lead. At 17:42 Crawford hit a three pointer which brought the score to 36-34. Tanise Thomas made a jumper at 16:38 and the Rattlerette lead was extended to four. The Lady Hawks closed the gap from the free throw line and secured the lead for the rest of the game with a lay-up by Stephens at 13:02.
Pressured by the will to win, Clark encouraged her team to send the Lady Hawks to the line to earn their points.
“It was just about effort and going out doing what we need to do. We did not execute as we should have,” said Rattlerette Coach Debra Clark, “Rebounding is our major flaw. We did not perform the way we should have.”
Maryland Eastern Shore’s Tekya Gooden went to the line twice in the last 45 seconds of the game. She shot four of four and sealed the win for the Lady Hawks.
Shelcey Harp led the Rattlerettes with 17 points, Watson added 11 and Crawford contributed 10.
“They came out strong; we knew they would. I should have had a perfect percentage from the field and we could have played a little stronger,” Watson said.