FAMU 58, Delaware State 52

The Lady Rattlers basketball team took the sting out of the Delaware State Hornets in Saturday’s 58-52 win.

Coming into the game, FAMU (7-6, 4-1 ) was in a three-way tie for third place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference while Delaware State was tied for first with South Carolina State.

Their victory coupled with other MEAC action, leaves the Lady Rattlers in a four-way tie for first place with Delaware State, South Carolina State and Howard, each having one loss.

“This was a great win for us in the standings,” junior guard Tene Miller said. “We are letting the conference know that we can play.”

Improving on their performance from last Monday’s 66-54 victory against Norfolk State when they did not get their first offensive rebound until the second half, the Lady Rattlers came out with a vengeance to pull in 11 boards, six offensive in the first half alone.

“It was intense (in the paint), but I think that helped us to play better,” said junior guard Clouttia Young.

However, it would not be a true Lady Rattlers basketball game if they did not let the opponent creep back into the game. Foul trouble and 14 turnovers allowed the Lady Hornets to close within eight points at halftime 33-25.

“We got a little relaxed and just knew that we had to pick it up when we saw they were getting all their points from the free throw line.” Miller said.

With a little more than five minutes remaining in the game, the Lady Rattlers had a comfortable 50-39 lead. But the Hornets persisted, going on a 15-1 run to place them within one point with 2:32 left on the game clock.

Senior Kim Watson, who led all players with 22 points and 11 boards, gave the Lady Rattlers the extra push they needed. She was sidelined for four minutes in the second half after being poked in the eye, but was able to re-enter the game.

In fact, it was Watson’s shot witht 2:07 left that finally put FAMU ahead by four points, 54-50. Despite a DSU jumper with 14 seconds left to make the score 56-52, free throws from Yolanda Dixon and Candace Crawford gave FAMU breathing room to seal the victory.

“I was real proud of Kim for her effort,” head coach Debra Clark said. “She was kind of playing with one eye but still gave 100 percent.” FAMU takes on the Lady Bison of Howard University in Jake Gaither Gymnasium Monday at 5:30 p.m.

Young said, “As long as we continue to play with the 3 E’s: Enthusiasm, energy and effort, we should do fine.”