The Florida A&M Rattlers had a milestone performance, as they beat Coppin State University basketball team 73-62 on Monday in the Al Lawson Center. The Lady Rattlers (11-11, 6-4 in the MEAC) decided to bear down on the lady Eagles (8-13, 5-5 in the MEAC) in the second half. The team outscored CSU in the paint 16 to 6.
Tameka McKelton scored 21 points, including her 1,000th point at Florida A&M University, making her the first junior to do so in more than a decade. “I was waiting for it to happen, I just didn’t know what game it would be. I knew it was close though,” McKelton said.
Ending the game flat against Morgan State, the Lady Rattlers knew physicality and endurance would prevail against Coppin State. “We had to come out with intensity,” McKelton said. “We shared the ball more and almost doubled our usual assists.”
McKelton said this win was an important gain coming off a loss. She said comin
g back from the first half the team knew they had to correct their mistakes on the offensive end.
In the first half of the game the Lady Rattlers had good, ball movement but just could not finish their shots.
Head coach LeDawn Gibson said the team really needed the win and put forth a lot more effort than in Saturday’s game. “Defense was great but we let them penetrate too much on the offensive end,” Gibson said.
The win puts the Lady Rattlers a three-way tie for third place in the MEAC with North Carolina A&T and Howard, who are also 6-4 in conference play. “Hopefully we don’t lose again. We’re trying to put ourselves in a good position for the MEAC tournament,” Gibson said.
The Rattlers were given a boost off the bench, as transfer power forward Shekeira Copeland scored a season-high 18 points. “Copeland came off the bench and gave us 18,” Gibson said. “I have been trying to get that out of her this entire school year but I’m very proud of her effort tonight.”
Copeland was optimistic about the Rattlers, and feels she can provide a consistent hand for the rest of the season. “We played a tough, hard fought game. Hopefully, we’ll go undefeated for the rest of the season,” Copeland said. “Tonight our defense was more intense and we played as a team, not individual ball like the last game.”
The Lady Rattlers’ next game is Thursday against Maryland Eastern Shore Tip-off is at 4 p.m.