Lady Rattlers plagued by turnovers, lack of execution

The Lady Rattlers controlled the opening tip against the Lady Hornets in Saturday’s game. Yet, Delaware State (17-8, 11-5 MEAC) was in control for much of the afternoon.

FAMU (9-16, 5-11 MEAC) fell in the contest 65-50. Turnovers and fouls plagued the orange and green throughout the game.

The Lady Rattlers committed 19 turnovers in the first half, and the Lady Hornets capitalized by scoring 16 points off of these miscues.

Of the starting line-up, sophomore guard Q’Vaunda Curry was the lone starter without at least two fouls at the half.

DSU converted 11-of-19 free throw attempts in the opening stanza. At the break, the Lady Hornets led by a 34-20 margin.

Head Coach Debra Clark was disappointed with the team’s performance.

“When you have over 20-something turnovers, you’re not going to win. You can’t do that against another college team and expect to win,” Clark said.

Turnovers have been a recurring problem as the team finished with 29 giveaways. Coach Clark attributed the mistakes to the team’s lack of concentration.

“It’s just mental, taking care of the ball. We’re unsure of

ourselves,” Clark said.

Freshman forward Denise Tate was limited to nine minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. Tate scored nine of her team-leading 11 points after the intermission. Despite scoring 38 of their 50 points inside, the Lady

Rattlers missed other opportunities in the paint. “We’re missing too many easy shots,” Tate said.

Coach Clark was candid in her assessment. “We don’t make layups,” Clark said.

The Lady Rattlers worked to pick up their intensity in the second half. Tate and junior center Ifeoma Onuaku recorded back-to-back blocks in one sequence, with about 14 minutes remaining. With nine minutes to play, Tate hit a layup that jumpstarted an 11-0 run for FAMU.

Steals by freshman forward Stephanie Foster and freshmen guard Taniyah Dawson boosted the team during this stretch.

“I knew we were down and we needed a lift,” Foster said. Foster and Dawson combined for 10 points off the bench.

FAMU sliced the DSU lead to six with under seven minutes to play. Tate completed a three-point play and the lead was now 47-41. But the home team would not complete the comeback.

With the loss, the Lady Rattlers slid to a ninth place tie with Norfolk State in the conference standings. Saturday’s loss was the seventh out of the last eight games for FAMU. The DSU victory swept the season series between the two teams. The Lady Hornets defeated the Lady Rattlers 55-48 in their first meeting of the season.

Tate said that the team must come together and continue to think positive. Tate pulled down six rebounds in the game. Onuaku led the team with nine rebounds.

The Lady Rattlers totaled 28 rebounds in the contest, a season-low. Onuaku also chipped in six points. Freshman guard Deidra Jones and sophomore forward LaKeisha Alexander contributed seven points a piece.

The Lady Rattlers have two regular season games remaining. FAMU travels to Hampton University (6-19, 6-10 MEAC) this Wednesday. The match-up between the Lady Rattlers and the Lady Pirates is set for 5:30 p.m.

FAMU takes on Bethune-Cookman College (4-20, 3-12 MEAC) Saturday in the regular season finale. The 2 p.m. contest is the first half of the Senior Day/Basketball Homecoming festivities.

Contact John W. Marsh at