The preseason of the Lady Rattlers’ basketball season came to a close Sunday as they won against the Fort Valley State University Lady Wildcats 81-60.
Led by a trio of transfer players, FAMU was able to defeat the Lady Wildcats team that includes Sherika Tarpkins, a preseason All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference first team member.
Lady Rattler Quidara Russell, a junior transfer from UNC-Charlotte, led the team with 18 points off the bench. She also contributed 7 rebounds and 2 steals, which played a major role in the success of FAMU.
Elana Greene, a junior transfer from Manhattan College and Ariel Towns, a junior transfer from Pasadena City College, also contributed respectable numbers. Greene achieved a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 28 minutes. Towns, who proved to be an energetic sparkplug, scored 12 points in 15 minutes.
“They’ve shown that they have the skill and the ability to learn our system,” Head coach Debra Clark said, “but it’s still early and we have room for improvement.”
Returning starter Tene Miller was the floor general for FAMU in previous seasons and that role has not slipped through her fingers quite yet. Acting as the poised and relaxed point guard on the court, Miller maintained a constant flow of the offense, scoring 6 points along with 8 assists.
“I feel that I don’t have to score all the time,” Miller said. “I just try to set up my teammates and make sure that we can execute our plays well.”Miller’s leadership did not go unnoticed by her teammates.
“She’s a great point guard,” Russell said. “I feed off of the energy she brings to our team.”
Reigning MEAC Player of the Year Kim Watson got off to a slow start in the first half, scoring only 4 points. It was in the second half where Watson picked up her pace, leading the team in the second half with 9 points.
The Lady Rattler defense was stifling throughout the game as they executed an effective full court press. With double teams trapping the ball and players rotating for defensive help, FAMU was able to force 30 turnovers.
“I thought our defensive effort was good at certain spots,” Clark said.
“Fort Valley State scored too many times off easy transitions. That’s something we have to stop.”
The Lady Wildcats showed late signs of closing the score as they scored 10 unanswered points, bringing the score to 73-57. But that was a close as they would get.
Up next for the Lady Rattlers will be their season opener Nov. 23 at Ohio State University. The Lady Rattler Invitational will be the next home appearance and is scheduled for Dec. 5-7.
LeMont Calloway can be reached at email@example.com.