Lady Rattlers cannot make ‘small mistakes’

For some teams, playing a quality conference opponent with only one full day to prepare can be a tough task to overcome.

In Monday’s game against Howard, however, the Lady Rattlers had the benefit of playing a similar team the previous Saturday.

“Howard and Maryland-Eastern Shore are two very similar teams. They both like to play up-tempo, fast-paced games,” said Lady Rattler head coach Debra Clark. “Their main goal is to apply full-court defensive pressure and force turnovers. Then, they try and outscore you.”

Most conference opponents find outscoring Howard a tall order. The Lady Bison lead the MEAC in scoring, putting up an impressive 71 points per game. Maryland-Eastern Shore went into Saturday’s game at Gaither Gymnasium versus the Rattlers averaging 69 points per game, good enough for second in the MEAC.

The Lady Rattlers will rely heavily on freshman guard Deidra Jones, the team’s leading scorer averaging 13.5 points per game, to help the Lady Rattlers keep up with the high scoring Lady Bison. Jones scored 14 points and had four rebounds against UMES on Saturday.

Coach Clark insisted that it is the small things that could make the difference between winning and losing tonight.

“During our Sunday practice, we will have to make some minor adjustments that separate (Maryland) Eastern Shore from Howard,” said Clark prior to Saturday’s game against the Hawks.

As two evenly matched programs, execution could also be a deciding factor for the winning team.

Evette Young, who leads the team in assists (4.4 per game) and is the primary ball handler, will have to decipher the Howard press early in the game and get the ball to Jones and the team’s other scorers to get an early lead. She had a game-high 7 assists in Saturday’s win.

“If we don’t make small mistakes and don’t fold under their press defense, we can limit their transition baskets and come through with a victory,” Clark said.

Tonight’s game also marks the fourth game back for junior center Ifeoma Onaku, FAMU’s top inside presence. Since returning from injury on Jan. 14 at North Carolina A&T, she averaged 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in her first two games of the season.

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