The Lady Rattlers didn’t dwell too long on Saturday’s Coppin State loss. Instead, they turned things around with Monday’s 75-51 blowout over the Morgan State Lady Bears. With the win, FAMU snapped a three-game MEAC losing streak, leaving the team with a 7-8 conference record.
In the final home game for the six seniors on the team, it was the supporting cast of younger Lady Rattlers that provided extra help to send them out with a bang in a convincing win over the conference’s worst team. All but two players registered in the scoring column for FAMU, while four finished in double figures.
“This shows that we have a lot of good players,” said senior center Quidara Russell, who finished with 13 points and six rebounds. “Each player has their strengths and weaknesses and it was good tonight that they played toward their strengths.”
Head coach Debra Clark, now 8-0 in her tenure at FAMU against Morgan State, said she was very excited to have the seniors leave in good fashion.
“We started five seniors, they set the tone, and we talked about the people coming in keeping the intensity and momentum up,” Clark said. “We’re real pleased that we had a good effort across the board from everybody. I’ve said all year long that when we play well together, we’re tough to beat.”
The intensity Clark mentioned was effectively displayed on the defensive end. The Lady Rattlers forced 14 turnovers in the first half, while converting 13 of their 32 first-half points off those turnovers.
“The nights that the ball’s not dropping for you, you have to turn your defense up, so we’ve really been concentrating on making sure we have a great defensive effort every night,” Clark said.
The Lady Rattlers will be losing two dominant players in the paint in Russell and senior forward Ariel Towns, who had 11 points.
One player who will be asked to step into a leadership role once the seniors are gone is LaKeisha Alexander. The freshman center showed she is capable of continuing the assertive FAMU presence down low by scoring 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
“I’m now starting to play like I did at the beginning of the season, more aggressive and not so laid back,” Alexander said. “I can’t get down if I miss a few shots. I just have to stay aggressive and focused.”
Senior forward Charon Williams added two more threes to the FAMU single-season record of 3-point field goals made, putting her record at 45. Williams finished with 10 points and three steals.
As the acting floor general, senior guard TenÃ© Miller has seen the best and worst days in her four-year career.
“We’ve had some great wins and some bad losses, but that comes with the territory,” Miller said. “This was the icing on the cake, to go out with a win in my last home game. But our plan is to go to Richmond and take it all. That’s been our plan all season and that’s what we’re going for.”
Senior guard Javone Davis led the way for Morgan State with 15 points, all from 3-point range. Freshman center Britney Griffin pulled down 11 rebounds, along with eight points in the Lady Bears’ 20th loss on the season.
The Lady Rattlers will finish the three remaining games of their season on the road, starting with North Carolina A&T Saturday, followed by South Carolina State Feb. 28. FAMU will complete its season March 3 against Bethune-Cookman before entering the MEAC Tournament, which begins March 7 in Richmond, Va.
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