The Lady Rattlers‘ suffocating defense propelled them to a win to close out the regular season Thursday against the Bethune-Cookman Lady Wildcats, 67-60.
The Lady Rattlers (16-13, 10-6 MEAC) jumped out to a commanding lead early. They found themselves up by 13 going into the break, 42-29.
But the Lady Wildcats (11-17, 8-8 MEAC) came out of intermission trimming the deficit to one.
Then the Lady Rattlers’ turned up their ball pressure. They forced 23 turnovers and limited B-CU to 37 percent shooting on the night.
Florida A&M head coach LeDawn Gibson was astonished with the amount of passion her team played on defense.
“I loved the intensity and the tenacity that we came out and played,” Gibson said. “It was Bethune. We were excited, and it was payback for the loss we suffered to them earlier in the season.”
Graduate guard Jasmine Grice finished with a game-high 29 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field. Grice also had six steals.
“I just really wanted to win,” Grice said. “I knew we needed this win, so I was just focused and determined to help lead this team to a victory.”
Junior guard Taneka Rubin was also in double figures, scoring 11 points while pulling down four rebounds.
“Coach has been telling to be more aggressive and getting up my shots,” Rubin said. “I’m just happy I was able to contribute and get this win.”
Senior guard Kimberly Sparkman also chipped in 14 points, six assists and three rebounds.
Next up for the Lady Rattlers is a date with Delaware State as they kick off the first round of the MEAC tournament.