The Florida A&M Lady Rattlers basketball team fell to the Bears of Morgan State University Monday night, 59-44.
In the first half the lady Rattlers dominated on defense, holding the lady Bears to just 19 points on 28% shooting from the field and 0-7 from deep.
While the defense seemed to be rolling on all cylinders, the offense struggled for much of the first half. The lady Rattlers touted a 21-19 lead at the half on just 30% shooting.
After half time, the competitive edge that FAMU possessed dissipated in large part to a non-existent offense that managed only 3 points in the third quarter.
On the opposite end, the sharp defense from the first half turned frantic as the Lady Bears shot a scorching hot 63 percent from the field. In addition, the Lady Bears sank three 3 pointers, on 75 percent shooting from long distance.
Coach Ledawn Gibson commented on the Rattlers defense in the second half, after the game.
“I think It’s a lack of communication. We weren’t talking on defense. We got a little better in the fourth quarter. We were down so we had too. And Morgan was more fluent offensively in the second half.”
This has been a season where things haven’t gone exactly to plan For the Lady Rattlers, but rarely does a team finish the season with the same players it started with. Earlier in the season, the team saw leading scorer Florence Ouattara miss time due to an ankle injury. Though the biggest loss for the team has been the absence of 6’4 Junior center Shalunda “La-La” Burney-Robinson, who was not only an on-court presence but a locker room leader. La-La suffered a torn ACL that will force her to miss the remainder of the season.
Coach Gibson expressed how the loss of “La-La” has impacted the team, and how the women must continue to fight if they wish to resurrect the season.
“Everybody keeps saying we need La-La, we miss La-La. But La-La has a torn ACL, and meniscus. She won’t be back, so it's one of those things where we just got to grow up and keep fighting. We can save face, position ourselves a little bit better than we are.”
Currently the women sit 12th among 13 MEAC teams, though they will have the chance to immediately improve that position with 4 straight conference opponents over the next 18 days.
Following that stretch, the women will have the opportunity to compete for a MEAC title in the MEAC tournament beginning Monday March 5.
It will be imperative for the Lady Rattlers to improve their road performance as they have only managed a ghastly 1-15 record away from Al Lawson Gymnasium. In addition, the women must improve an offense that is currently shooting 26 percent from three point range, and only 34 percent from the field.
Next up on the schedule for the Lady Rattlers are the Hornets of Delaware State on the road. The Lady Hornets have struggled as they rank only one position ahead of FAMU in the MEAC standings and currently are in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
Tip-off begins at 2 pm Saturday in Memorial Hall Dover Arena.