Rattlerettes look to promising year

The Rattlerettes have worked all summer trying to gear up for a successful 2002-03 season. These women were given a conditioning schedule that included running, weightlifting, speed, flexibility and other agility-based activities.

“Summer conditioning included a lot of running and lifting,” said junior guard Tene Miller, who averaged 11.2 points per game during the 2000-01 before sitting out last season. “My goals for this year: win MEAC, win conference tournament, go to NCAA and make it past the first round.”

These Rattlerettes have now shifted from a summer conditioning schedule to a preseason condition schedule, which is more intense. Preseason conditioning is held at 6 a.m. on the track Monday through Thursday, consisting of one to two mile runs, with emphasis on improving time each week. They also participated in open gym play, which gave the girls a chance to run drills and plays..

“During the summer I ran two miles, four days a week,” said junior guard Tanise Thomas, who along with her teammates must complete an individual workout. “During open gym I usually come in and take about 250-500 shots a day and run through drills.”

The Rattlerettes ended last season with 11 wins and 18 losses and placed eighth in the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC). But this year’s team is different as it consists of six freshmen, three transfers and six returning players.

One of those returning players is senior 6’3 center Kim Watson, who scored a team high 22 points in the Rattlerettes exhibition win (66-58) Sunday against Albany State. Another is sharp-shooting sophomore Candace Crawford, who earned a spot on last season’s All-MEAC Rookie Team, by averaging nine points, four rebounds and three assists per game as a freshman.

This year winning the conference title is among the goals that head coach Debra Clark has set for her team.

“This year the team is fairly young, but well-balanced,” Clark said. “I would like to win conference, but first and foremost get better every game.”

Originally from Winston-Salem State, Clark is now in her second year of coaching at FAMU. She has a new assistant, Niki Washington, who went to Southern Illinois.

The Rattlerettes will be looking to win their second and last exhibition game when they play the first game of the basketball doubleheader in Gaither Gymnasium against Valdosta State on Saturday.