Discipline is a key to success for any team. All sports require unyielding focus and determination. Only disaster awaits a team when discipline is forgotten.
The Florida A&M Lady Rattlers forgot discipline. They left behind the basics that allowed them to beat schools from the Big East and SEC. Monday night, the team paid for it.
An out of sync starting lineup took the floor against the Hampton University Lady Pirates, falling behind 10-0 early before head coach LeDawn Gibson put regular starters Qiana Donald and Tameka McKelton back into the game.
“[Players] just refused to come to practice and work hard,” Gibson said. “The five that you saw started [Monday] were the five that came to practice yesterday ready to practice.”
The lack of discipline showed, despite the starters returning to the game, and the Lady Rattlers suffered a 17-point loss. The loss was riddled with sloppy play, as the Lady Rattlers shot 17 for 50 from the field and committed 27 turnovers that led to 26 points for the Lady Pirates.
When asked about the team’s lack of chemistry, Gibson said it was “obvious.”
The regular threats were unable to make any sort of impact off the bench. Donald and team leader Deidra Jones were able to put to strong numbers, scoring 19 and 15 points respectively. Taking away Jones’ 15, the starting five only scored two points.
Guards Christian Rateree and Lashonda Gaines combined for three points off the bench. Gaines also struggled with early foul trouble, picking up two in the first half and fouling out with 8:32 left in the game.
“They let outside issues affect the game [Monday],” Gibson said. “That was a big part of what happened.”
Aggression, frustration and a 7-7 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference record were the rewards the Lady Rattlers received for their lack of discipline.
A top four finish in the conference is borderline impossible for the team, but a better performance will be necessary against the Winston-Salem State University Lady Rams.
“We’ll just shake this off and go on to the next [game],” Donald said. “We’ll just keep going at it.