Lady Rattlers’ hot streak concludes

Despite a valiant fight and the Homecoming spirit racing through the gym, the Lady Rattlers lost to the Coppin State Lady Eagles 68-57 Saturday afternoon in Gaither Gymnasium. The loss snapped the only consecutive win streak the Lady Rattlers had all season, and drops them to a 6-8 MEAC record and 9-14 overall.

Senior guard Quidara Russell led the Lady Rattlers with 15 points and 11 rebounds while senior Ariel Towns finished with 11 points and 6 rebounds. Freshman guard Joslyne Jackson tried to boost the Lady Rattlers at the end of the second half with her 10 points, including two three-pointers, but the Lady Eagles were just too much.

“I don’t feel we made plays down the stretch,” Lady Rattlers head coach Debra Clark said. “I knew we would have to score 70 plus points to win against those girls, but offensively, we just didn’t have it.”

CSU’s top scorers included junior forward Sherrie Tucker with 18 points, senior guard Denita Plain with 16 points and senior center Leisel Harry with 13. Plain also led her team in rebounds with 10.

Both FAMU and CSU had a high number of rebounds, 47 and 38 respectively, because the shooting was so poor. FAMU shot 32 percent from the field in the first half and CSU only shot 36 percent. At least the Lady Rattlers managed to hit a few threes, going 2-11 from behind the arc while the Lady Eagles missed all 12 of their three-point attempts. Free throws were the strong stat of the afternoon for both teams, FAMU shot 70 percent and CSU shot a flawless 100 percent.

The second half was another story. With the Lady Rattlers winning 29-28, The Lady Eagles stormed the court, out rebounding and out shooting their opponents. Coppin State shot an impressive 55 percent from the field and 67 percent from the free-throw line compared with FAMU’s 35 percent field shooting and 25 percent free throw shooting.

The Lady Rattlers committed 12 turnovers in the second half, leaving the door open for CSU’s biggest player, 6-3 Harry, to score eight straight points. CSU scored 40 in the half.

Coppin State’s senior guard Courtni Strickland said the key to winning was, “following the game plan.”

“We stuck to the plan,” she said. “We had good execution, our defense was strong the entire game and we listened to our coaches.”

The Lady Eagles have swept the season series 2-0 after winning in Baltimore Jan. 15, 62-51. The loss will probably drop the Lady Rattlers out of top five contention and the upcoming rounds of next month’s MEAC tournament.

On the other hand, the Lady Eagles are 17-7 overall and 12-3 in MEAC standings, which places them a meager half-game behind the MEAC-leading Hampton University Lady Pirates (12-2).

“If, and hopefully when, we do play this team again,” Coach Clark said, “we will have to take care of the ball and make sure we follow the plan.”

The Lady Rattlers final home game will be Senior Night on Monday at 5:30 against the last-place Morgan State Lady Bears. The Rattlers need this win to have any kind of chance of getting into the MEAC tournament.

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