Women win a nail-biter, 70-66

Sydney Hendrix goes up for a strong layup.
Photo Courtesy: FAMU Athletics

Coming into this game, FAMU has a home record of 4-2, seeking to protect the snake pit, improve their home record over Alabama State, and sweep the Hornets in this season series!

The first quarter was an aggressive and fast-paced game. Both teams defensively swarmed the ball and made shots difficult to come by. The Hornets quickly found their rhythm, both offensively and defensively. Their defense turned into offense, getting easy points in the paint, creating a lead of eight to four with 6:18 minutes left in the first. The dynamic guard duo for FAMU’s three-time SWAC player of the week, Ahriahna Grizzle and Olivia Delancy had a very quiet start. But that quickly changed as they found their spark to pull the Rattlers close in the first. Alabama State was able to fend off the late push by Grizzle and Delancy to go into the second quarter leading 16-15.

Delancy picked up where she left off in the first by carrying the Rattlers to a rapid 5-0 run to open the second! ASU was not fazed by the robust start from FAMU, as they went on a run of their own to regain the lead with 7:00 minutes remaining in the second quarter, leading 24-22. Delancy was on a mission the whole second quarter, getting whatever she wanted and when she wanted! With 4:16 minutes and ASU leading 28-26 remaining in the second, it was a bucket-for-bucket match between ASU and Delancy. The Rattlers quickly ended the bucket-for-bucket affair as they amped up their defense and closed out the half, leading 38-32.

Delancy talked about how she was on fire in the second.

“I just let the game come to me and allowed myself to settle into the flow and see the open gaps. It really wasn’t a matter of what I saw but what the game and my teammates opened up for me,” Delancy said.

The Hornets kept chipping away in the third to regain the lead. But the Rattlers found ways to preserve their lead. Sydney Hendrix picked up the scoring torch in the third. She was attacking the glass hard, whether that was getting points in the paint or crashing the glass hard to get second-chance points or to close out defensive possessions. The Hornets ended the third on a good note by knocking down a buzzer-beater three by Solangelei Akridge. Hendrix was the main reason FAMU entered the fourth quarter, leading 52-50.

Hendrix spoke about her scoring spree in the third quarter.

“When you start being more aggressive on defense, it translates into being more effective on offense. Most of my points came naturally through the offense or put-backs. My team did a great job noticing the openings in the offense because they were double-teaming Ahri, and that opened the floor up a lot easier for the rest of the team,” Hendrix said.

The late push by Alabama State continues in the fourth. Hendrix had the hot hand early in the fourth by scoring five easy points. She was relentless in the paint, causing havoc on the offensive end to keep the Rattlers up with 4:50 minutes remaining. Despite Hendrix’s impressive effort, Alabama State kept knocking on the door, and with 2:17 remaining, ASU was down by four with a score of 65-61. Akridge knocked down a clutch three to bring the Hornets within just three with 18 seconds remaining! FAMU guard Ivet Subirats got a clutch steal to seal the deal! FAMU was able to get a clutch defensive stop to seal the deal. The Rattlers were able to sweep the Hornets in the 2023-2024 season series!

Delancy was happy with her team’s performance and touched on what these last couple of games meant for her and the team.

“These couple of games mean so much to us because we can feel the energy of the SWAC tournament, and as a team, we all want that feeling, and we are so excited for what the future holds for us. So, to be honest, these next games mean just as much as the first ones because it means we are taking a much-needed step in the right direction,” Delancy said.

Hendrix finished the game with an efficient double-double. She capped off her afternoon with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Delancy followed behind her with 16 points.

FAMU will be back in Al-Lawson Center on Monday, February 26, as they take on the Alabama A&M Bulldogs.