By Ariel Bedford
The Lady Rattlers took on the Morgan State Lady Bears to close out the regular season, and though FAMU shot poorly in the first part of the game, they settled down with their defense and unselfish offense to add another victory for their impressive year…
Star Antonia Bennett wasn’t as effective as normal to start, rushing open shots and not executing as crisply on offense as her skill set predetermines, and her lack of rhythm trickled down to the team, keeping MSU in the game longer than they should have been. After an early referee time-out about 11 and-a-half minutes into the contest, “Red”, the nickname used for Bennett by her teammates and male Rattler basketball counterparts, got back on track, immediately draining an open three from the right key to give FAMU a semi-comfortable lead 18-13.
Both teams were not gun-shy from three point land, and FAMU’s Kimberly Sparkman epitomized the constant desire by both clubs to let it rip, with her taking six treys in the 1st half, the most of any player. The player that was key to FAMU taking a 43-31 lead into the half was Junior Keturah Martin. The Memphis native didn’t take a shot in the game, yet her defense and 2 assists, including a beautiful laser off a fast-break opportunity to Senior Qiana Donald that gave her an uncontested lay-up, allowed the Lady Rattlers to get the jump on the Lady Bears.
In the second half, the Lady Rattlers truly ran away from Morgan State, doubling the bench points 28 to 14 on MSU and shooting 9-for-9 from the charity stripe. The MVP for the second period was easily Sophomore Jasmine Grice. The East Gadsden High product shot 50% in the 2nd half, and had a run of textbook jump shots on three consecutive offensive possessions for FAMU that helped to balloon their lead to over 30 points. MSU’s guards seemed tired, dazed, and confused thanks in part to FAMU’s full-court press and half-court traps, surprisingly spearheaded by Qiana Donald, who had 4 steals for the game. Check below for thoughts on the game, along with a recap of the successful regular season and how the team stays loose by Jasmine Grice, Qiana Donald, Antonia Bennett and HC Gibson in the post-game press conference:
By beating the Morgan State Lady Bears 88-57, FAMU not only gave their seniors a memorable way to finish their careers at home, but gave the team their 21st victory of the regular season, a phenomenal feat for a program just beginning to truly get back on the winning track. After 2 consecutive victories against MEAC foes, the Lady Rattlers also have the momentum that could possibly carry them through the MEAC Tournament, which they will most likely need to win to garner an NCAA Tournament berth.