Simms Wins for Lady Rattlers with Clutch Free Throws

Late free throws from Myeshia Simms sealed the victory against North Carolina-Central in the Al Lawson Center on Saturday.

Simms was fouled with 24 seconds to go, and went to the free-throw line for two shots. She made both free throws to give Florida A&M a three-point lead.

“I was just hoping I made the free throws. I prayed they would go in and they did,” Simms said. The No. 3 offense in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference averages 64 points a game. The absence of Antonia Bennett weakened the Rattler’s offensive attack.

“When we played them last time Bennett had half the points and half the rebounds,” head coach Ledawn Gibson said.

The Lady Rattlers defended their home floor with toughness, even without two of the team’s primary weapons.

“We knew we didn’t have Bennett and {Quiana} Donald and we played harder. We had to hustle to get every rebound we could,” Simms said.

Donald leads the Lady Rattlers in rebounding, but she was feeling fatigued at halftime.

“I wasn’t planning to play her any more after halftime, but then I asked here was she ready to step up to the challenge and she did. I am very proud of her,” Gibson said.

Gibson said she was clutch, with a key block, key layup and crucial rebounds.

They fought back into the game tying the score 55-55 with three minutes left. Shekeira Copeland knocked down a jumper at the 2-minute mark to put the Rattlers ahead.

The Lady Eagles missed one of two free throws, leaving them one point behind FAMU with less than a minute to go.

Shekeira Copeland missed a game-sealing layup late in the second half and the Lady Rattler bench protested for a foul to no avail.

“They missed a call but that’s expected. We never get a lot of calls at home or on the road,” Copeland said.

The Lady Rattlers will play Monday against South Carolina State at 5:30 p.m. in the Al Lawson center.