Saturday, the Florida A&M women’s basketball team (8-5, 1-0 MEAC) will look to add to its five-game winning streak on the road at North Carolina Central (2-12, 0-1 MEAC) in Durham, NC.
Head coach LeDawn Gibson said she feels great about how the ladies are playing and is very confident in her team as Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play is about to begin. Coach Gibson said practicing hard, playing together and staying positive would help the team continue its win streak. The Lady Rattlers’ athleticism and depth are two of the key factors to their success. Senior Antonia Bennett, who has been the Rattlers’ leading scorer in nine of their 13 games this season, is a major part of their success. Coach Gibson said she is well deserving.
“Bennett’s performance has been great this season,” Gibson said. “She has worked hard her previous three years here and has put in a lot of hard work and time in the offseason to get where she is right now.”
The Lady Rattlers’ depth is also major weapon this season. Gibson said depth has played a major role in giving some of the starters leg rest. It has also given the younger players playing experience against larger school programs, she added. On Monday, sophomore Jasmine Grice came off of the bench to score 10 points in the first half in FAMU’s win against the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers.
“Everything is positive about her. She is one of the most athletic players I have,” Gibson said. “She brings so much to the team; she brings athleticism and basketball IQ. She can score from any dimension, she’s a lockdown defender, and she can rebound. Her ball handling is superb, and there’s nothing I feel like she can’t do. Having her as an addition and back this semester makes us that much better.”
Sophomore Ra’Shawn Sparkman said the key to a victory this weekend is to continue the collective effort the team has put forward during its five-game winning streak.
“We just have to keep moving forward and play the way that we know how to play,” Sparkman said. We have to continue to play together.”
In this weekend’s game, Gibson will be looking for a “refuse to lose” attitude from her ladies as well as the intensity and winning spirit they have been playing with all season.
Gibson said the energy in the locker room is very positive and that she is pleased with how the season is going. She even said the team could win the MEAC championship this year.
Currently, the Lady Rattlers are third in the standings behind the Hampton Pirates (10-3, 2-0 MEAC) and the Howard Bison (9-5, 2-0 MEAC).
According to senior Tameka McKelton, if the team hopes to continue its streak, it has to “stick to the basics.”
“To keep the streak going this weekend, we just have to follow the game plan that coach (Gibson) has laid out for us and stick to the basics. We have to stick to what we’ve been doing all week in practice. We’re playing a good team this weekend, and this is just what you have to do.”