Dashing all hopes of a major upset, the Rattlerettes fell victim to the sword of the Hampton Lady Pirates Saturday 69-59.
FAMU (12-11 overall, 8-6 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) entered action coming off a rough road trip of two losses to University of Maryland-Eastern Shore and Howard University. Those defeats put a halt to the six-game winning streak the Rattlerettes had under their belt.
“It was a tough game, we needed other people to step up and unfortunately no one did,” said head coach Debra Clark.
The Rattlerettes came out of the locker room ready for action. Four minutes into the game, junior guard Yolanda Dixon sank a three pointer to tie the game at eight. Taking advantage of a steal by senior Kim Watson on the next play, she made a lay-up to put her team ahead 10-8.
Their success didn’t last long though.
Five straight turnovers and three missed shots gave the Lady Pirates plenty of room to breakaway 21-12.
Assisting in their dominance, Hampton pulled down 28 rebounds to FAMU’s 14.
“Rebounding was our biggest problem, it was the key to the game.” said sophomore guard Dierdre Tyus.
The Rattlerettes attempted a comeback with nine minutes left on the clock in the first half. Taking full advantage of the Lady Pirates excessive fouling, they sank 10 of 16 free throws. Their persistence paid off. At half time, the deficit had been cut to four points 33-29.
The break did not provide much energy for the team though. The level of intensity and game pace remained low.
“We had the opportunities and we missed them,” said sophomore guard Tene Miller. “If we had stepped up our game, we’d have been all right, but we didn’t get our plays off like we wanted.”
After only four minutes, FAMU was losing again by ten points 45-35. In the first half the Rattlerettes only sent Hampton to the line five times. However, they began committing unnecessary fouls and sent them to the line 17 times in the second half.
“When you play against a good team, you have to step it up,” Clark said. “We needed to play with high intensity the entire time, but Hampton kept going.”
Fans got their hopes up one more time as FAMU cut the gap to three points 62-59 with 2:19 remaining on the clock. The Lady Pirates weren’t going to go away easy though. They persisted until the end, putting up 10 more points to solidify their win 69-59.
Dixon led the Rattlerettes with 22 points, while shooting 57 percent from the field.
The Rattlerettes have now slid from sole control of third place to a struggle to maintain fourth place. They need to win three of their final four games to finish no worse than a number four seed.
“We need to see what we were doing then, and what we’re doing now to get back on track,” Miller said.
Dominique Drake can be reached at email@example.com.