It was with a foreboding sense of loss that Rattlers spectators watched as Florida A&M’s women’s basketball team exited the court Saturday night after a 79-72 loss to the North Carolina A&T Lady Aggies.
The game against the North Carolina A&T Aggies stood as an important hurdle in the team’s schedule, as the Aggies hold the title as Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship team for 2009. North Carolina A&T maintained their current undefeated conference record of 3-0 after their win over the Lady Rattlers.
Head Coach LeDawn Gibson asserted that it was not lack of skill or ability that led to the team’s loss, but repeated mistakes and inconsistency.
“I think we beat ourselves tonight with careless turnovers and missed free throws,” said Gibson. “We just stopped playing together. You’ve got to stay as a team throughout the whole game.”
Sophomore guard Qiana Donald and Junior guard Christian Rateree both carried game highs for individual points scored with a total 19 apiece. Senior guard LaShonda Gaines also rose as a standout offensive player, offering 11 points and a game-high eight assists.
Strong performances were not enough to solidify a victory for the team.
The Rattlers did manage to out-perform the Aggies in terms of accuracy with their field goal percentage, making 50 percent of their attempted shots. North Carolina A&T, however, only connected on 39 percent of their attempted goals.
It was at the free throw line that the women’s team lost a good deal of accuracy and opportunity to score. The lack of focus at the line stood out as one of the deciding factors in the team’s loss.
The Lady Rattlers held an accuracy rate of only 38 percent at the free throw line. The Lady Aggies proved to be more efficient, making 83 percent of their attempted free throws.
“I think it was free-throws missed,” said Gibson. “We’ve got to go to the line, concentrate and just knock them down.”
Donald also commented on her inaccuracy in free throw shooting, as she made only 20 percent of her attempted shots.
“It won’t happen again,” said Donald. “I’m just going to go back in and shoot a hundred [free throws] if I have to.”
Leading scorer Tameka McKelton also did not possess her usual accuracy, making only five of her attempted 12 shots for the night. The limited performance of team leader and senior, Deidra Jones possibly played a role in the team’s inconsistency throughout the duration of the game. Jones played a total of six minutes.
“We had some starters on the bench, and I think that really hurt us,” Gibson said.
Lack of teamwork and consistency seemed to be the team’s consensus as to what contributed to their loss.
“When we play our ball, nobody can stop us, and I think we just have to realize that,” Donald concluded.