Rattlers set tone, defeat Tigerettes

The Florida A&M University Rattlers set the pace early at about 100 miles per hour and never looked back on the way to a 71-39 rout of the Tuskegee University Tigerettes Friday evening in the Al Lawson Multipurpose Teaching Center and Gymnasium.

“I loved the young ladies effort,” said head coach LeDawn Gibson.

Sophomore guard Tameka McKelton led all scorers with 15 points on 6-17 shooting. Senior guards Deidra Jones and LaShonda Gaines both contributed 14 points. Jones also led the game in assists with seven.

The high tempo of the game proved too much for the Tigerettes to handle. Mistakes on the offensive end led to 22 turnovers that the Rattlers turned into 22 points. The Rattlers pushed the tempo in transition and had 16 points off fast breaks.

“We’re lucky because we’ve got post players that can run,” Gaines said. “Everybody gets up and down the floor pretty quick. It’s easy on the guards to get it up the floor when you’ve got people who can catch and run.”

Florida A&M dominated the first half with a 19-2 run to start the half and a 11-0 run to finish it. Both runs started with fast break points and high-percentage shots thanks to a strong post presence. The Rattlers had 18 points in the paint for the first half compared to eight from the Tigerettes.

The Tigerettes were treated to more of the same in the second half. The Rattlers scored 20 points in the paint in the second half. The Tigerettes only had four and could not capitalize low post opportunities.

Sophomore Qiana Donald scored four of her ten points on shots in the paint that she was fouled on. She was also 4-4 from the free throw line.

“We worked on one-on-one in the post with our coach,” Donald said. It was just a good pass from my teammate in order for me to get the shot off.”

The Rattlers shot 44.8 percent from the field on 30-67 shooting with 38 points in the paint for the game.

This exhibition game also served as the home opener for the Rattlers and the first women’s basketball game in the new gymnasium.

“It was important to win and set a tone for the rest of the season,” Jones said. “We wanted to get off to a good start in the Al Lawson Center, give the fans a good show so they could come back for the rest of the season.”