Lady Rattlers lose home opener to Spartans 68-50

A figurative cloud fell over the Al Lawson multipurpose center on Saturday, as the Lady Rattlers (4-10, 1-1 MEAC) lost to the Lady Spartans of Norfolk State (3-11, 2-1 MEAC) 68-50.

The game was the first of the “blackout” double-header to honor the life of former Interim Athletic Director Nelson Townsend.

Dawning the initials “NT” on a commemorative patch, the Lady Rattlers couldn’t pull out the win.

Head coach LeDawn Gibson was very disappointed in the team’s performance and the outcome of the game.

“The only excuse that I can give you is that I have five girls on the sideline that cannot play because they are injured,” Gibson said. “[But] to me that’s a lame excuse because these young ladies know how to play … and tonight we didn’t.”

The Lady Rattlers just were not active around the rim.

Gibson said the team has three freshman post players and the growing pains are part of their maturation process.

The Lady Spartans dominated the glass, winning the rebounding battle 54 to 27.

Senior guard Taneka Rubin finished with eight points, four rebounds, two assists and a block.

Rubin said the team has to stand together to pull out a win.

“It’s everybody’s role to step up and take leadership,” Rubin said. “We have people in each position that can step up, so it’s up to everybody.”

In the first half, the Lady Rattler offense did well on swinging the ball and keeping an eye out for openings down low.

Junior guard Khaderja Young had three steals, and freshman guard Dawn King had a trio of three-point field goals.

The ladies went into halftime tied at 28-28, but after halftime, the Lady Rattlers didn’t seem to be into the game, Gibson said.

“They have to find some heart somewhere,” Gibson said. “They are not playing Rattler Basketball.” Gibson said.

Players were not hustling down the court, and the Spartans had multiple fast breaks.  

Jaleesa Blue, a redshirt junior forward, said the team lacked energy in the second half.

“We just need to work on our defense and rotations,” Blue said.

The Lady Rattlers will be preparing for the next home game January 12th against Hampton.