The Lady Aggies (9-7, 4-1) of North Carolina A&T University came into Gaither Gym undefeated in conference play Monday afternoon, but by the time they left, they fell two spots to third place.
They fell behind Florida A&M University (9-8, 5-1) who jumped to second place in the MEAC after a 72-65 victory over the Lady Aggies.
FAMU had four players in double figures. Junior guard Q’Vaunda Curry led all scorers with 23 points.
“It was important for us to come into the game with intensity and get a victory to move up in the standings,” Curry said.The Quincy native was able to connect on five three-pointers, making the Lady Aggies pay for constantly leaving her open from the outside.
“Anytime she is open, she has the green light to shoot the ball,” Head Coach Debra Clark said. “Our guards were able to work the ball around giving Q the ability to take the open shot.”
Curry sparked the Lady Rattlers during the last 23 seconds of the first half with her game tying three-pointer.
Senior Ifeoma Onuaku gave FAMU a 32-31 half-time lead by connecting on one of two free throws.
The Lady Aggies led by as much as eight in the first half and matched the Lady Rattlers basket for basket in the beginning of the second half.
Sophomore guard Brittanie Taylor-James kept A&T close by knocking down shot after shot over FAMU defenders. The University of California, Santa Barbara transfer led the Lady Aggies with 17 points and 10 rebounds, the only player with a double-double in the game.
Freshman guard Ta’Wuana Cook gave the Lady Aggies their first lead of the second half on a free throw to bring the score to 40-39.
In a close game with six ties and 19 lead changes, the freshmen of FAMU simply outplayed the young North Carolina A&T team down the stretch.
Freshman forward Secrett Anderson added 15 points for the Lady Rattlers.
Marke Freeman scored 12 points, 10 of which were scored in the second half, and gave the Lady Rattlers the lead for good by scoring a three-pointer with 6:42 remaining in the game.The freshman was able to control the Lady Rattlers’ offense with her ball-handling abilities.
“I was able to get a lot of penetration into the lane, which created open shots on the outside for my teammates,” Marke Freeman said. Freeman and Curry sealed the victory for FAMU as they combined to score the last 11 of 13 points for the Lady Rattlers with less than 3 minutes remaining in the game”In practice we will work to get better, especially on our press breakers to cut down on the turnovers, but tonight we are happy to come away with a win. A victory is a victory,” Freeman said.
The youth of the Lady Aggies showed as A&T struggled to overcome turnovers and play through foul trouble.”FAMU deserved to win because they played smarter and harder,” A&T Head Coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs said.