Lady Rattlers fend off late rally

Despite a late push by the South Carolina State Lady Bulldogs, the Lady Rattlers clinched their second straight conference victory Saturday, 70-64.

The Lady Rattlers’ (10-11, 4-4 MEAC) full-court defensive pressure proved to be too much for the Lady Bulldogs, much to the delight of Florida A&M head coach LeDawn Gibson.

“The face of our program is going to be 40-minute pressure, regardless of who we’re playing,” Gibson said. “We’re in shape, have a lot of speed and talent, and we love playing up-tempo.”

Although the Lady Rattlers forced 13 first-half turnovers, 3-point shooting kept the SCSU in the game.The Lady Bulldogs (5-13, 3-5 MEAC) went 4 of 5 from behind the arc in the first half.

Coming off of a season-high 34 points against Howard, MEAC Player of the Week, graduate student and guard Jasmine Grice, started off slow but found her groove going into the second half. Grice finished with a game-high 26 points.

“My shots weren’t really falling tonight,” Grice said. “I was just trying to stay positive and look to my teammates to help get me the ball.”

Deep into the second half, SCSU went on a 16-4 run to tie the game at 55.It became a battle throughout the second half with six lead changes.

Sophomore guard Mykala Jones led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with 24 points, going 6 of 7 from 3-point range.

Senior guard Tierra Prothro, who was out all of last season with a shoulder injury, became the decisive factor for the Lady Rattlers with her tough play in the paint.

“Tierra brought a lot of energy and a lot of tenacity on the boards,” Gibson said.

“Tierra brings the toughness that we need and doesn’t mind contact.”

Prothro recorded a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds.

“I got a lot of feeds from my teammates, which caused me to get a lot of buckets,” Prothro said. “Being allowed to contribute to the team helped us get the victory.”

Junior guard Taneka Rubin also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Lady Rattlers will look to continue their winning streak Monday against Savannah State at 6 p.m. in the Al Lawson Center.