The play wasn’t designed to go to her.
But with only six seconds remaining in the second half of the women’s basketball game Monday night and with defenders flanking guard Q’Vaunda Curry, who had already drained four 3-pointers, Ifeoma Onuaku had to make a move.
The 6-foot-4 center caught the inbounds pass near the elbow of the free throw line, pivoted and looked for a guard to pass the ball too.
Then, seeing no one open, she faced up, took a couple of dribbles weaving through the Lady Aggie defense landing a banking lay up in traffic to the tie the game 66-66 and send it into overtime.
But the Lady Rattlers’ (9-13, 5-8) good fortune would run short in the extra period.
The Lady Rattlers lost just their second game of the year in Gaither Gymnasium 75-73 to the North Carolina A&T Lady Aggies (7-14, 7-5), when freshman Deidra Jones’ last second heave to win the game barely caught the bottom of the net.
After being held in check the first half, Jones, the Lady Rattlers’ leading scorer, caught fire in the second half. The Powder Springs, Ga., native finished the game with 20 points and seven rebounds in 42 minutes of play.
It was Curry’s 3-pointers that kept the turnover-stricken Lady Rattlers’ head above water during the first half in which the Lady Aggies converted the Lady Rattlers’ giveaways into 10 points. Curry, a former East Gadsden High School standout finished the game with 17 points, knocking down 5 shots from beyond the arc.
“We have to get better with the turnovers,” said FAMU women’s basketball head coach Debra Clark. The Lady Rattlers would end the game notching 23 turnovers. “Every time we turn the ball over, those are chances we don’t get to score that they do.”
The game may also have been a coming out party for freshman Denise Tate. Tate put up a career high 15 points and pulled down a game high 9 rebounds, displaying a promising array of post moves and only turning the ball over once.
The loss dropped FAMU to seventh in the MEAC women’s basketball standings, a game behind Norfolk State University.
“The positives we’ll take from this game are their fight, their aggression and their tenacity,” said Clark of her young team’s effort. “But when you fight that hard, it’s tough to lose. We’ve got to get better.”
The Lady Rattlers have the rest of the week off before attempting to close out season series sweeps at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Saturday at 2 p.m. and Monday at Howard University at 2.pm.
Contact Nick Birdsong at firstname.lastname@example.org