Lady Rattlers must take advantage of home court

As the regular season winds down for college basketball nationwide, teams across the country are beginning to prepare for their conference tournaments.

Despite recent struggles in conference play, hope is still alive for the Lady Rattlers (9-15 overall, 5-10 MEAC). With three games remaining, the team will have to find a way to shake the spell that has plagued them during road games this year.

Going into Saturday’s home contest against second place Delaware State (16-8, 10-5), Florida A&M University is 1-13 when traveling to play. Compared to the team’s impressive 8-2 home record, the difference is night and day.

Two of the three remaining regular season games are scheduled to be played at Gaither Gymnasium: Saturday’s game against Delaware State, and the season finale against in-state rival Bethune-Cookman College.

The BCC game is also being billed as the basketball homecoming and reunion, which will highlight the accomplishments of several past players, and honor the graduating seniors of this year’s club. If the Lady Rattlers can pull out wins in these contests, they will look to carry some of that home court magic on the road to North Carolina for the MEAC tournament in Raleigh.

But a glance at the team’s road record this season could lead spectators to believe the Lady Rattlers are overmatched headed into the MEAC tournament. However, the competitive nature of the conference this year has teams clawing to defend their home courts.

The FAMU faithful may be able to look for the young but talented Lady Rattlers, who have three sophomores and two freshmen seeing significant playing time, to be ready to play come tournament time.

Freshman Deidra Jones, a 5-foot-10 Georgia native, leads the team with 13 points per game. Jones also contributes 5 rebounds per game this season.

Sophomore point guard Evette Young is the team’s floor general averaging 4.5 assists per game.

Add 6-foot-3 junior center, Ifeoma Onuaku, and you have the team’s core which will lead the Lady Rattlers late-season push for the MEAC Tournament title.

That road starts this Saturday against Delaware State in the first of two remaining home games for the club this season.

Contact Kenneth Whaley at