Coming off a 2-2 road trip over the winter break, the Rattlerettes improved their record to 5-7 with Saturday’s 83-78 win over University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.
Coach Debra Clark knew that her team wouldn’t match up well with the opponents’ size, so she made her game plan accordingly.
“They weren’t a good field goal zone team, so we decided to use a 2-3,” Clark said.
That defense seemed to work for the Rattlerettes, but then UMES caught on and began hitting three pointers off of good ball movement. They were unstoppable from behind the arc with 33 of their points coming from downtown.
Rebounding, on the other hand, was dominated by FAMU as they pulled down 29 to UMES’ 21. These rebounds led the team to score 21 points on second chances and 40 points in the paint.
The Rattlerettes took advantage of their opponent’s man-to-man defense, by driving to the basket more often.
Junior Tene Miller made a good layup and drew a foul to put the Rattlerettes on the board and Florida A&M went on a 9-4 run before the Lady Hawks called their first timeout.
There was slight miscommunication after the timeout that led to two FAMU turnovers, but the Lady Hawks were unable to convert either of these opportunities to points.
Senior Kim Watson (21 points, 14 rebounds) was helped greatly as she showed why she was both the MEAC Player of the Week and The Famuan’s Player of the Week.
“We need to help Kim,” said Junior Yolanda Dixon, “She will score but we need to help her.” Watson fought hard for good positioning under the basket to score with one second left on the shot clock and bring the score to 20-17.
University of Maryland-Eastern Shore didn’t give up though. They continued to fight and were led by sophomore Octavia Thompson who had 15 points in the first half alone.
“We did what we talked about and got the results,” Clark said. “We were able to come together and hold them off.”
The team indeed came together with four players scoring in the double digits. Dixon led with 23 points, followed closely by Miller with 17.
Coming out of the locker room for halftime, the Rattlerettes realized what must happen to ensure victory.
“We needed to slow down and maintain ourselves,” Miller said. “We needed to keep up the intensity.”
The Rattlerettes had trouble keeping up their intensity because UMES began a full court press. Luckily, they caught a break with a technical foul when a Lady Hawk touched the ball while the Rattlerettes where trying to inbound the ball.
Senior Deidra Bateman had an amazing reverse layup to put the Rattlerettes ahead 47-42. Then, with 7:47 left on the clock, the Rattlerettes began to pull apart from their opponents and took an 11-point lead.
The lead was diminished quickly as UMES followed with six points.
Their efforts were too little too late as the final seconds counted down to clinch the Rattlerette victory.
The Rattlerettes shot 45 percent from the field and 77 percent at the line, overruling the Lady Hawks’ 40 and 45 percent, respectively.
The ladies will finish their home stand against the Pirates of Howard University tonight at 5:30pm in Gaither Gymnasium.