When it comes to FAMU basketball, it is no secret that the sport garners a ton of support. However, the amount of fans that showed up for the showdown between Florida A&M’s Lady Rattlers and Bethune Cookman’s Lady Wildcats on Thursday night was absolutely breathtaking.
Perhaps it was the fact that both FAMU and BCU are rival schools. Or perchance the support was because it was senior night. Whatever the case was, the Lady Rattlers seemed rather invigorated as they took charge of the entire game and emerged victorious with an 11-point lead over the Lady Wildcats.
The final score was 49 to 38.
The women have had a mixed season of ups and downs; however, the team agreed that a victory against a rival school was fantastic. Q’Vaunda Curry, a senior guard from Quincy, said she is pleased with the team’s success against BCU.
“It feels good,” said Curry, 21, a business student. “We haven’t had as many wins as we would have wanted, but winning tonight feels great.”
The game began with the senior Lady Rattlers starting the game. Senior guard Joslyne Jackson contributed the first two points on the clock. Soon after senior forward Thyeis Halley earned another two points for the Lady Rattlers effortlessly weaving her way between her opponents.
FAMU wasted no time in excelling on the court, which prompted several timeouts from BCU head coach Francis Simmons to rally the morale of her team. This incited a desperate battle of the ball as BCU began scoring points. Nevertheless by halftime, the Lady Rattlers had maintained a successful lead and the score was 27 to 20.
The second half saw an energized BCU fight to claim a victory, but the Lady Rattlers didn’t give the team a single opportunity. Jackson hit a three-pointer to the cheers of encouraging fans. Jackson’s shot only pushed FAMU’s score higher, which only made the team even more keyed up. Quick shots and clever teamwork led to the score soon being 43 to 34 with FAMU still in the lead.
Minutes later, the Lady Rattlers won the game and dismissed their adversaries. It was a feeling that team cherished, especially Halley.
“I think it was a good win going into the MEAC tournament,” said Halley, 21, a criminal justice student from Cleveland, Ohio. “It built our confidence.”
Denise Tate, 21, a junior forward, shared her teammates sentiments. She said the win wasn’t just good – it was big.
“Whenever a team plays a rival school, everything goes out the window,” said Tate, an Ohio native majoring in criminal justice. “We just wanted to win the game. I think we’re really gelling together, getting used to each other and everything is flowing better.”
The win marks the second time this season the Lady Rattlers bested the Lady Wildcats, and they certainly aren’t taking their victory lightly.
“We really wanted to beat BCU,” Curry said. “We have a good team and a lot of adrenaline. Plus it being senior night made us play really hard.”
Among the graduating seniors were Curry, Jackson, Halley and Evette Young, a guard from Sunrise. Coach Debra Clark, who has been coaching the team for seven years, said her seniors were excellent student athletes and she was really proud of them.
Next up for the team is the MEAC championship held in Raleigh, N.C. on March 10-15. The team is optimistic about their upcoming challenge and is determined to meet its opponents head on.
Stephanie Foster, 20, a junior who doubles as both a guard and a forward,said the team will be just fine. In fact, she predicts a win.
“You can expect to see us win the tournament,” said Foster, a broadcast journalism student. “We just have to go in confident.”