Women aim to shake last season’s sting

There’s a bitter taste in Elana Greene’s mouth. The senior center for the Lady Rattlers basketball team can’t forget how bad it felt in March watching Delaware State make the winning basket with seconds left on the clock.

The shot eliminated the Lady Rattlers from the MEAC conference tournament and turned out the lights on the Lady Rattlers season.

“This entire summer I kept thinking about our last game and it definitely drives me,” said Greene, who was recently voted to the MEAC preseason All-Conference second team. “I thought we played together, but we could have done better. I was just disappointed and I still think about that game everyday.

The Lady Rattlers are about to embark on the 2004-2005 season and expectations in the locker room are running high.

“Our expectations are to start out as strong as possible,” said senior point-guard Tene’ Miller. “We have to play some big schools so we know that we’re going to have to do some big things and play hard. We’re just trying to get to know each other in the beginning of the semester so we can pull it together for conference play.”

With the Lady Rattlers returning seven seniors, head coach Debra Clark, who is entering her fourth year as the Lady Rattlers coach, said that the returning seniors will be leaned upon heavily to help guide the young freshmen.

“We are really looking for our seniors to step up and be leaders on and off of the court,” Clark said.

Greene (11.8ppg), Miller (5.7ppg) and senior guard Candace Crawford (5.1ppg) are three of the seven returning seniors Clark will count on to show their underclassman teammates how to perform.

In years past, depth wasn’t one of the Lady Rattlers strongest area, but according to Clark, she may be able to reach deep into her bench for consistent contributors.

“We have 14 players whom I feel that we can go to any of them,” Clark said. ” So I feel our biggest plus this year is our depth. Our philosophy is to wear people down and if I can substitute without a lot of drop off then that’s good for our team. And we really think that we have experienced depth at every position.”

Last season the Lady Rattlers committed and average of 20 turnovers per game and were even with their opponents in the rebounding category. These are two areas Coach Clark would like to improve on in the upcoming season.

“Last year we had entirely too many turnovers and we can improve on our rebounding,” Clark said. “The times that we were out rebounded we were 4-9. And the times that we out rebounded our opponents we were 9-4, so we know that we have to do a better job on the boards.

Even though they will face four Division I-A teams in its first eight games of the year, the lady rattlers feel they can recover if they get off to a rough start.

“The non-conference game are suppose to be hard so we can see where we are at,” Miller said. “I think if we don’t start off where we need to be by the time our conference games roll around we’ll be ready. You don’t want to lose any games, but we really don’t want to lose our conference games.”

Be it a win or a loss the Lady Rattlers understand they must communicate with each other to have a successful season.

“Communication is the No.1 area that our team needs to focus on this season. Whether it’s communicating on offense or defense because if you don’t communicate your teammates they won’t know where you are on the floor,” Greene said. “If we communicate we should be fine.”

Contact Ryan Boyd at thefamuansports@hotmail.com