By Ariel Bedford
It wasn’t the most fluid of matches, but when facing your rival in spirited battle, the final numbers on the scoreboard are all that count in the MEAC standings…
The women started off the clash against bitter rival schools Bethune-Cookman University and Florida A&M University in Al Lawson Gymnasium, and it seemed from the beginning that this match was FAMU’s to either win or lose regardless of what BCU attempted to do. Bethune-Cookman kept the game close for the most part until well into the 2nd period, and even jumped out to 9-2 lead with a quarter under 14 minutes into the game. Antonia Bennett helped FAMU ring the bell with a three point field-goal from the left corner with a little over 12 minutes into the contest, displaying her versatility as a play-maker with the ball in her possession.
In a key series of events around the 4 min mark, BCU took a FAMU missed shot and relayed it via lob passes down the court, with the eventual Wildcat scorer pumpfaking Bennett under the basket and placing an easy
chipper off glass-giving BCU a slight point advantage. FAMU closed the half strong, showing a resemblance of some offensive rhythm with penetration from Sophomore Kimberly Sparkman getting the FAMU
guards open shots outside. Sparkman and the Lady Rattlers didn’t just play on one side of the ball, though, as they attacked every loose ball with a tenacity so strong that, on one occasion with just under 14 secs left in the half, the aforementioned Sparkman collided with a BCU defender like a cornerback diving at the legs of a fullback. Two timely jump shots by BCU r-Sr Jalisa Isaac, the latter coming with 4 secs left, put BCU back in a tie with the Lady Rattlers at 24 all going into the half.
The Lady Rattlers finally found a post game to to start the 2nd period, pounding it inside for a 4-footer to Senior Qiana Donald. On FAM’s next possesion they again dialed up #15, forcing the BCU defense to commit a foul to stop the Senior F/C from a field goal. Once FAM established a little inside-out attack on offense and limited errant passes and bad shots, they began to pull away from BCU, even showing a superior level of athleticism in the back-court match-ups.
Below are post-game thoughts from Bethune’s Head Coach Vanessa Blair, FAMU’s Head Coach LeDawn Gibson and Sophomore Guard Kimberly Sparkman:
The outside shooting of West Palm Beach native and FAMU Senior Guard Tameka McKelton stood out as the game went on, along with her overall
toughness, which would explain a gritty coast to coast lay-up she executed with 13:20 remaining in the period where it seemed she simply outran the entire BCU transition defense. The bucket gave FAM their first double-digit lead at 39-29. FAM’s defensive principles were seemingly the same in the 2nd half, but their hands were more active in passing lanes
within half-court sets which helped them gain a cushion on the Lady Wildcats and allowing them to cruise to a victory.