Spartanettes ‘left their game at home’

“Shooting 18 percent, who can you beat?”

Norfolk State’s head coach, James Sweat posed this question in response to his team’s embarrassing performance against the Rattlerettes, Saturday.

The Spartanettes struggled from the tip off and even more so in the second half, falling to the Rattlerettes 70-43 at Gaither Gym.

For the game, the Spartanettes hit only 12 of 66 from the field and a woeful 1 of 20 from behind the three-point arc.

Norfolk State’s wretched shooting, combined with 23 turnovers and another strong game inside from FAMU center Kim Watson, propelled the Rattlerettes to 7-11 overall, 3-6 in conference.

Norfolk State came to Tallahassee fourth in the MEAC at 5-2 , with only five season losses. Early in the second half, it was obvious that the Spartanettes had left one thing at home, their game.

Both teams struggled offensively from the start. The Spartanettes, despite several wide-open shots, made a mere 6 of 30 from the field in the first half.

At the other end, Phaedra Mashburn repeatedly held the ball for the Rattlerettes, bogging down the offense and forcing her teammates into hurried shots against the clock.

After consecutive long jumpers, one a three-pointer, by sophomore forward Tanise Thomas, Norfolk State called a 20 second timeout at 12:01. By this time the Rattlerettes had secured a 13-6 lead. The Rattlerettes dominated possession of the ball for most of the half forcing 14 Norfolk State turnovers.

During one scoreless four-minute stretch, the Spartanettes blew three layups forcing Sweat to finally call a timeout with 5:21 remaining.

Coming out of the timeout the Spartanettes had three opportunities to score but could not convert.

FAMU’s Candace Crawford took a feed from Neisha Cameron and scored from downtown. At halftime the Rattlerettes were up 28-15.

Obviously rejuvenated by the halftime break, the Rattlerettes brought even more game offensively and defensively in the second half.

“I told the girls at half that Norfolk State was going to come out stronger. You have to work harder second half than first,” Crawford said.

The Rattlerettes held Norfolk State scoreless until 15:48 of the second half when Dekisha Thompson hit a jumper and brought the score to 37-17. The Spartanettes shot 6 of 36 in the second half.

Encouraged by their coach to drive and draw fouls, Norfolk was able to score 16 of their points in the second half from the free throw line.

“There were a lot of bad calls and they [Norfolk State] were trying to get their points any way possible” Watson said.

“We got a little lax in the second half but once we settled down we were fine for the rest of the game,” said Head Coach Debra Clark. She described the game as a “well balanced attack and a total team effort.”

Watson led the team with 18 points and 7 rebounds.

The Rattlerettes face Hampton on the road today. The Lady Pirates are 6-2 in the MEAC.