Women survive holiday test

While most FAMU students were home for winter break enjoying tasty chicken and grandma’s apple pie, the women’s basketball team was hard at work playing ball.

Their first match-up was against Wake Forest on Dec. 15. In the first half alone, the Lady Rattlers (5-6 overall, 1-1 MEAC) committed 22 turnovers, taking their only lead, 15-14, with 11 minutes remaining in the first half.

Two days later, the Lady Rattlers battled North Carolina State. The team rebounded well from its loss to Wake Forest. But the Wolfpack broke away with five minutes left in the game with an 8-0 run and won 72-65.

A key factor in the team’s loss was rebounding, as FAMU was destroyed on the boards with 34 offensive rebounds for the Wolfpack compared to 16 defensive boards for the Lady Rattlers.

After a 10-day break, the team came together for the Georgia Tech Southern Classic Tournament.

In their first game, FAMU pushed the Lady Bucs of Charleston Southern off the plank 72-57. CSU led for a majority of the first half but at halftime the Lady Rattlers were ahead by one point 28-27.

The second half started with the Lady Rattlers taking the lead for the final time with 18:47 remaining when Yolanda Dixon made a free throw to make the score 30-28.

Improving their performance in the paint, the Lady Rattlers outscored the Lady Bucs 36-18 and forced 28 turnovers into 22 points.

The championship game was against Georgia Tech.

“Coming into the game, we had serious concerns about Florida A&M because their only four losses were to Big 10, ACC, and SEC opponents,” said head coach MaChelle Joseph in a post-game interview.

Shooting only 23 percent from the field and 1-20 from behind the arc, FAMU lost 84-45. Dixon and senior Kim Watson were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Finally beginning MEAC action, the Lady Rattlers continued their road trip and faced Coppin State on Jan. 3. After being down 10 points in the second half, junior Quidara Russell incited an 11-point run by scoring seven of those points to the Lady Rattlers ahead 56-55 with 14:42 remaining.

But her efforts were not enough for a win. FAMU failed to make any shots from the field in the last seven minutes of the game and lost 79-73.

After a two-day hiatus, FAMU extended Morgan State’s MEAC losing streak to 31 games with a 53-31 victory on Jan. 5.

MSU shot 20 percent from the field and was 0-11 in three-point attempts. Watson played well to finish off her winter break collecting her first double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The team begins a four-game home stand Saturday against Hampton at 2 p.m.

Contact Dominique Drake at ddidis1@aol.com.