The No. three team in three pointers made this season in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference received a surprise of the bench on Valentine’s Day against Delaware State.
Christian Rateree showed the hornets no love on Monday. Her four long-range bombs demolished her opponent’s every attempt to crawl back within contention.
“Chris started some this season she’s been on and off the bench,” Gibson said.
Gibson told her when her number is called, go out there, and be ready to do what you do best, shoot and direct the team at the point guard position.
Rateree had 14 of the 18 points off a shorthanded Lady Rattler bench. Tamika McKelton and Antonia Bennett combined for 41 points and 25 rebounds. Bennett followed her 1,000th point day on Saturday with a 26 point, 18 rebound performance Monday.
“It’s really good to have a deep bench when teams key in on our main shooters, scorers, and key in on “red” and I,” McKelton said.
McKelton said with Chris and everybody else stepping up off the bench, the team has extra weapons and are just waiting for the opponent.
Bennett and McKelton’s scoring averages are two of the top three in the MEAC. Bennett and Qiana Donald combine for 17 rebounds per game, the best rebounding tandem in the MEAC.
“It seems like everyday we tack on another player to contribute to McKelton and Bennett’s scoring. Along with Donald’s rebounding, we get three or four more players who are ready to go,” Gibson said.
In a low-scoring game against Morgan State on Feb. 5, Bennett and McKelton combined for 20 points and FAMU lost by nine points. In a TV interview Gibson emphasized how other players needed to step up.
Since the Morgan State game, the Lady Rattlers are averaging 74 points and have won by double-digits in three straight games.
“Its good when our players off the bench are playing well. It gives them and us confidence,” McKelton said when asked if bench production takes pressure off the starters shoulders.
The Lady Rattlers are 3rd in the MEAC standings with five games left on the schedule. The team will look to peak toward the start of the MEAC tournament in March.
“We are trying to get back on the same page for the MEAC tournament and it’s coming. I don’t think we’re quite turning the corner yet, but we’re there,” Gibson said.
FAMU hits the road again to face Howard University in Washington D.C. on Saturday Feb. 19. Howard University will look to bounce back from the bitter loss received in late January at the Al Lawson Center earlier this year.