Coming off a 71-68 overtime loss to Maryland-Eastern Shore, the Lady Rattlers hope to stop the duo of Sherrie Tucker and Leisel Harry of the Eagles of Coppin State, one of the top teams in the MEAC, Saturday night.
“It’s always a challenge when you play a good team,” said head coach Debra Clark. “These are the games that make it exciting for athletics. You always want to compete and this will be a great opportunity for us to compete.”
Because Coppin State (9-5; 4-1 MEAC) plays well on defense and has a veteran team, Clark thinks her team will have to be consistent and play well in order to generate a win Saturday night.
FAMU (4-8; 2-2 MEAC), which returned seven veterans to this year’s squad, has not had the best luck with keeping key players healthy. Elana Greene, who averaged 11.8 points and 7.1 rebounds last season, has only played in two games this year because of an injury.
“We have six seniors who, from the beginning of the season, we are relying to carry us,” Clark said. “If the six of them have great games and our freshmen players and other players come on in and assist them, I think we will be in good shape.”
Senior Charon Williams said playing hard every second of every game is the remedy for a successful team.
“I will contribute hard work,” Williams said. “I plan on leaving it all on the floor. Whatever it takes for us to be successful as a team, then that is what I will do,”
The Lady Rattlers have adopted a combination of concentration, hard work, aggressiveness and a little sweat during their practices in preparation for Coppin State.
“Towards the end of the week we will go over Coppin’s sets and create game-like situations of what Coppin would do and react off of that and take that in with us into the game on Saturday,” said senior forward Ariel Towns.
Not only have the players focused on the physical aspect of practice, but the mental preparation is vital as well.
“Mentally I am going to focus on what I need to do and focus on their weaknesses and how to capitalize and hopefully we can come out on top,” Towns said.
Also implemented in practice are vital drills that will aid the team in acquiring a win.
“We will put in a couple new plays, so we will get a chance to learn the plays and run it with the team,” said senior forward Quidara Russell. “We do box out drills and rebounding drills so I think all of what we do in practice will help us prepare for the game.”
Strategy will also be an extremely important asset to have in reference to the game on Saturday.
“We are going to need a balanced offensive attack,” Clark said. “We are going to have to out-rebound Coppin State and we are going to have to keep our turnovers to a minimum. They are a team that does not make many mistakes so we are going to have to protect the basketball.”
One of Coppin State’s strongest players is forward Sherrie Tucker. Averaging 16.8 points and shooting 34 percent from 3-point range, she is a player with the ability to defend, penetrate and shoot the outside shot. Combined with the other four players on the court, the Lady Rattlers will have to defend the basket that much harder.
“We are going to have to contain her and not let anyone else have a really outstanding game,” said Clark.
Due to the hard fought loss against the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore on Saturday, the Lady Rattlers know that they have to cut back on several mishaps being that Coppin State is 4-1 in conference play.
“Knowing that we could have won that game, I think that they understand that certain mistakes can not happen,” Clark said.
This match up will be an exciting one for FAMU, giving them the chance to show the league just what the Lady Rattlers can do.
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