On the edge of achieving its longest win streak in over 15 years, the Florida A&M Lady Rattlers (17-6, 10-1 MEAC) faltered down the stretch, falling to the Howard Lady Bison (18-7, 10-2 MEAC) 68-61 Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Bison snapped FAMU’s 14 game winning streak, provided its first loss in conference play, and outscored it 33-26 in the second half. This marks the Lady Rattlers’ first loss since Dec. 9 against Nicholls State.
The Lady Rattlers were also undone by the 23 turnovers that they committed. The Lady Bison converted those turnovers into 24 points.
FAMU head coach LeDawn Gibson said mistakes the team made during its possessions hurt them.
“We didn’t take care of the ball,” Gibson said. “We didn’t stay disciplined running our offense.”
Senior Antonia Bennett led the way for the Lady Rattlers, as she scored 25 points and seized 11 rebounds for a double-double. Fellow seniors Tameka McKelton and Qiana Donald scored 12 and 11 points, respectively. McKelton scored all of her points during the first half.
The Lady Rattlers maintained the lead for the majority of the first half until a late run by the Lady Bison tied the game at halftime 35-35. The game experienced eight ties and seven lead changes during the half.
After the break, the Lady Rattlers were able to retake the lead after Jamie Foreman made a three pointer at the beginning of the second half. The lead was closely contested and the Lady Rattlers took a three-point lead after a layup by Bennett with 6:50 remaining.
However, the Lady Bisons closed the game with a 16-8 run during the final six minutes. The Lady Rattlers, who shot just 47.2 percent from the field on the game, converted only three of their 13 field goal attempts over that time.
Tamoria Holmes led the Lady Bisons with 21 points. Kara Smith and Saadia Doyle chipped in 13 points each, while Zykia Brown scored 12 points.
Although the team took the loss, Gibson said that the team could learn from the mistakes that they made.
“I’d rather lose now than at the tournament,” she said. “I feel like we seen their best but they haven’t seen ours since we had our mistakes and we were also playing without Jasmine Grice.”
The Lady Rattlers will look to bounce back from their first conference loss on Feb.18 against the Savannah State Lady Tigers in Savannah, Ga.