Home sweet home.
After a six-game road trip over the winter break, the Lady Rattlers returned to Gaither Gymnasium Saturday to begin a four-game home stand.
FAMU (6-6, 2-1 MEAC) was happy to be back on their home court for Saturday’s 56-54 victory over Hampton University (2-10, 2-2 MEAC).
“It felt good to be home after being away for so long,” said junior guard Tene Miller. “You play with more confidence when you’re on your own court.”
The game was close as the teams stayed within nine points of each other.
FAMU committed 16 turnovers for 14 points in the first half to allow Hampton to stay within reach of the lead.
“We always have a goal to stay under 15 (turnovers),” said junior forward Elana Greene. “Sometimes we get it and sometimes we don’t. We just keep trying to work on it.”
The Lady Rattlers jumped out to a 10-4 lead before Hampton closed the gap. A three-pointer by junior guard Charon Williams tied the game at 13, while two free throws by Greene pushed it to 15-13.
FAMU had difficulty maintaining the lead. The Lady Rattlers were out-rebounded 21-14 in the first half with no offensive boards.
“Coming in, we knew they were a big team,” said head coach Debra Clark. “We just spent a lot of time working on boxing out in practice.”
The Lady Rattlers persisted and went into half-time ahead, 36-30.
In the second half, Greene pulled in FAMU’s first offensive rebound of the game and was fouled, allowing her to sink two free throws.
Hampton tried to break the momentum with a full-court press but FAMU was able to break right through with minimal effort. A jumper by senior Clouttia Young pushed the score to 45-42.
Still fighting, at 2:24 the Lady Pirates tied the game at 54 off a three-pointer by junior guard Brendy Ellis.
Ellis plagued the Lady Rattlers all game with her jump shots, but even her efforts weren’t enough to keep FAMU from victory.
With 1:58 left on the clock, Miller drove down the sideline and took it the hole to put her team ahead 56-54.
Leading the Lady Rattlers was senior Yolanda Dixon with 14 points and four assists and Greene, who contributed 13 points, six rebounds and two steals.
FAMU goes up against the Spartans of Norfolk State (1-10, 0-3 MEAC) tonight at 5:30 p.m. in Gaither Gym.
“Norfolk is kind of similar to Hampton, real aggressive,” Clark said.
“We just want to execute our game plan and get our turnovers down.”
Contact Dominique Drake at email@example.com.