Rattlerettes hold back Lady Rams

It is difficult for a basketball team to win shooting a meager 39.4 percent from the field, 15.4 percent from the three-point line and 40 percent from the foul line.

Nevertheless, the Rattlerettes overcame their horrible shooting and a 12-point second half deficit to beat Albany State 66-58 on Sunday in Gaither Gymnasium.

They managed to win this exhibition game after shooting so poorly because they played stifling, tenacious defense, holding the Lady Rams to only a 34.6 shooting percentage from the field. The Rattlerettes also slithered for 16 steals and forced 25 turnovers.

“They took us right out of our offense,” Albany State head coach Robert Skinner said. “We haven’t had this much trouble getting in our offense all year long against other people, even against guys.”

The Rattlerettes also salvaged several possessions by grabbing the offensive rebounds. They snatched 14 offensive rebounds (to Albany State’s 6) in the win and scored 14 second chance points (to Albany State’s 4).

Senior center Kim Watson had four of those offensive rebounds and paced the Rattlerettes with 22 points.

“I missed a lot of shots, but overall I think I played well,” said Watson, who shot 10-22 and had a total of 10 rebounds.

Shooting a meager 35 percent in the first half, the Rattlerettes were only down five (36-31) at halftime after holding the Lady Rams to only eight field goals.

The Lady Rams extended their lead to seven on their first possession in the second half with a well-designed play that resulted in a lay-up by sophomore center Quinita Morrow. ASU eventually extended that lead to 12 on a baseline jumper by sophomore guard V’Ashley Ford.

Coach Clark called a timeout with the score 47-35 and 14:09 left in the game to change the Rattlerettes’ defensive scheme.

“We tried to mix it up at first with man and zone, but they were hitting a lot of the outside shots well, better than we expected, so we went (strictly) to man-to-man,” Clark said.

The Rattlerettes didn’t reduce ASU’s lead to a single digit until junior forward Clouttia Young hit the first of her two free throws with 11:32 left, making the score 40-49.

Starting with those two free throws, the Rattlerettes went on a 12-2 run, while forcing five ASU turnovers. With about eight minutes left, Watson got her second post entry pass of a possession turned middle, shot a four-foot jumper over Morrow and tied the score at 51 before being fouled.

Watson missed the free throw, but the Rattlerettes didn’t miss out on this opportunity to win this game.

The score was tied three more times before freshman forward Tiffany Greenwood and sophomore guard Dierdre Tyus hit back-to-back jumpers, giving the Rattlerettes a 61-58 with 3:20 to go.

Both teams didn’t allow a point until junior guard Tanise Thomas swished a wide open three-pointer on an assist from Watson, who passed out of a double team in the post.

“We moved the ball on offense and we got a good shot,” said Thomas, who extended the Rattlerettes lead to 64-58 with 1:47 left in the game. “All I was thinking about was don’t rush the ball, don’t rush the shot.”

Watson tacked on another two with an easy lay-up on the Rattlerettes next possession which resulted in the final score, 66-58.

Coach Clark felt confident after the win that her team had a lot to build on going into their second and last exhibition game Saturday against Valdosta State.