With 51 seconds left on the clock, the Al Lawson Multi-Purpose Gym was in an uproar as Senior Guard Deidra Jones connected a 3-point shot that tied their game against the University Maryland Eastern Shore Lady Hawks 43-43.
It was the Lady Hawks who held possession of the ball as the clock wound down, however, as senior guard April McBride managed to connect a jump shot with 33 seconds left in the game. That shot, combined with two successful free throws from junior guard Casey Morton, proved to be deciding factors in the Lady Hawks win with a final score of 47-43.
This is the team’s second loss in the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference, since their 79-72 loss to North Carolina A&T. Head Coach LeDawn Gibson feels as if it was offensive inconsistencies and inaccuracy that contributed to the team’s loss.
“I think we just had a bad shooting night,” said Gibson. “.I think we played really good defense and they played really good defense…I don’t think it was something we did or didn’t do, our shots just didn’t fall-through.”
It did indeed prove to be a tough night for the Rattler’s offense, as the team only made 27 percent of their attempted field goals. A key factor contributing to the rattler’s offensive troubles may have lied in the fact that the game was overall an extremely physical one. The team struggled to hold on to the ball, with a total of 13 turnovers and 8 steals at the end of the game.
Sophomore guard Qiana Donald said she feels as if was necessary for the team to play more aggressively to stay competitive within the game, but that the loss is a minor setback in the team’s Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship aims.
“We fell short in a lot of stuff, but we just have to re-group and get ready for the big [MEAC] games,” said Donald.
Gibson agreed, already focusing her attention on their game against Delaware State on Monday, January 18.
“All we can do is come back to practice and get ready for Monday,” said Gibson. “We can’t just sit here and focus on losing, we’ve got a long season ahead of us.”
Senior guard Deidra Jones proved to be a calculated force on the court throughout the night, and was included on the starting line-up, despite very recently returning to the game after a knee injury. Her experience and maturity visibly made a difference in the team’s performance on the court.
“When I get on the court I try to just calm them down and try to get into a flow with the offense,” said Jones.
Jones emphasized the importance of communication with her teammates to have a successful offense.
“When we’re flowing in our offense and clicking and everything’s a rhythm, then it’s easy for everyone to hit shots; but when you don’t know what the next person is doing, it’s kind of hard to hit a shot or get in position to rebound.”
The team found themselves having to re-establish the fine-tuned machine they had established on the court, as the team had at least two novice players on the line-up for the night’s game.
“We had some people that normally don’t play had to give us a lot of big minutes,” said Jones.
In addition to playing new faces, the team also had to overcome a series of foul troubles, particularly in the first half of the game, which eventually proved to be detrimental for the Lady Rattlers.
The team was on one accord, however, in emphasizing the importance of playing consistently and accurately from beginning to end.
“It was win or go home,” said Jones. “I think everybody tried to pick it up at the end, but if we do that from the beginning, we win by 20.”