The Florida A&M University Lady Rattlers basketball team is gearing up for its first conference game Saturday against rival Bethune-Cookman University. The Rattlers are carrying a (3-2) record while the Wildcats are currently (4-1).
Coming into this game both teams look to be evenly matched in terms of offensive statistics. The Lady Rattlers are averaging 63.8 points per game while the Lady Wildcats average 67.4 points per game.
Melissa Daniels, a fourth-year pharmacy student from Jasper, said they want to control the tempo and play the game at their own pace.
On defense the Rattlers seem to have the edge statistically. The ladies have held their opponents to 56.2 points per game compared to the Wildcats who have allowed 62.6 this season.
The pressure defense by the Lady Rattlers has led them to forcing 18.8 turnover points per game. The Rattlers also forced 8.4 steals and 5.4 blocks per game to help with their defensive efforts.
“We want to pressure the ball on defense and cause lots of turnovers and capitalize on those opportunities,” said Deidra Jones, a fourth-year pharmacy student from Powder Springs, Ga.
Deidra Jones, Stephanie Foster and Antonia Bennett are the Rattlers three leading double figure scorers.
The three players combine for over half of the team’s 63.8 points per game. The leading scorer is Jones at 15.2. Foster and Bennett aren’t too far behind with 13.0 and 10.2 points per game.
The players said if they want to compete Saturday they must continue to do a good job on the boards. They are averaging 46.2 rebounds per game, and are out rebounding opponents by 6.4 rebounds per game.
Qiana Donald and Denise Tate are responsible for the bulk of the teams’ rebounds. Tate leads the team with 9.4 per game and Donald averages 8.0 rebounds per game.
The Lady Rattlers are taking Saturday’s game against the Lady Wildcats seriously.
“We want to win because thats our rival and this game could be important to build momentum,” said Stephanie Foster, a senior broadcast journalism student from Columbus, Ohio.
Daniels said the key to the game is to cut down on the turnovers and be more consistent throughout the game in order to get the win.
“This is an important game because it’s our first conference game and it could set the tone going into the MEAC season,” Jones said.
The Rattlers and the Wildcats will square off Saturday at 5 p.m. nasium.