Women’s basketball team hopes to improve

Photo courtesy: FAMU athletics

The Florida A&M women’s basketball team held its annual media day Monday in Gaither Gymnasium.

The team, which is nearly filled with new transfer students, is looking to use the lessons it learned last season to bounce back.

The team, which finished last in the SWAC last year with a record of 3-25, believes that it has a lot to prove this season and wants to get back to a winning culture.

The Rattlers are in good hands with head coach Shalon Pillow, who started her tenure with FAMU in 2020. She has over 15 years of coaching experience and skill development including working under Hall of Fame Coach Rick Insell.

Pillow played her college ball at the University of Tennessee under the legendary coach Pat Summit. She played in 108 career games and helped the Lady Vols advance to four NCAA tournaments, including two Final Four appearances and four SEC Championships with a record of 125-12. She graduated from UT in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in general psychology and a minor in communications.

The players this year are looking to improve and have high expectations for the upcoming year. Senior Caylan Jones says the team been working on its overall game heading into this season.

“Basically, we’ve been working on three things, rebounding, taking care of the ball, and basically transition,” she said.

Jones added, “We’re making sure that we are homing in on our crafts together, going back to the basics, and making sure we get together and build that chemistry as a team and go out there and win all the games that we can.”

Malerie Brooks, a junior guard from Kingsland, Ga., spoke about her injury that she suffered during the team’s last scrimmage game and her expectations going into the upcoming exhibition game against UWF.

“I had a high ankle sprain, I’m expected to be out four weeks, but I’m trying to hurry up and come back because we play this week. Personally I want to work on my guard work since I mostly played in the post last season, so I know I can play the wing, especially with getting my shot off,” Brooks said.

Canadian transfer Mide Oriyomi, who previously played at Purdue University, spoke about what separates the team from last year’s team.

“This team is much more cohesive on and off the court, and I think this team can play the style of basketball that the coach has wanted to play for a while,” Oriyomi said.

The Rattlers have a lot to be excited for. They will start their season on Nov. 7 against the University of Florida.