Sunday, February 19, 2017

Lady Rattlers upset MEAC No. 2 Spartans, 59-51

The Florida A&M Lady Rattlers stunned the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s (MEAC) second place Spartans of Norfolk State 59-51 on Saturday at the Al Lawson Center.

FAMU was paced by junior Shakerrya Morrison and senior Alicia McCray, who each carded a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds. McCray added six blocks in her best defensive output of the season.

“I’ve been waiting all season on her to play like that,” Head Coach LeDawn Gibson said of McCray.  “It was a good team effort to beat a solid Norfolk State team.  I’ve felt all year that this team could beat any team in our conference.  It’s not easy to explain why we seem to drop games we surely should have won, while occasionally winning ones we weren’t expected to,” Gibson added.

NSU’s Alexys Long led all scorers with 15 points, with teammate Dominique Harper chipping in 11.  Kay Roberts grabbed seven boards for NSU, while Khalilah Ali pulled down six.

Florence Outtara led the Rattlers in scoring with 12 points, including 3-of-6 from the three-point arc. 

FAMU shot 36 percent from he field int he first half and 35.5 percent in the second half.  The offense was consistent with quarters of 14, 12, 16 and 17 points.  The achilles heel of the team had been anemic quarters, leading to defeat.

NSU was not able to sustain a solid shooting percentage, as they had int he past.  The Spartans shot just 29.4 percent int he first half and 20.5 percent int he second half.

The Lady Rattlers nearly self-destructed with 21 turnovers. They would make up ground with 10 steals.  In the end, the Lady Rattlers’ hustle and activity in their full court press resulted in forcing NSU into 15 turnovers.

“This was a big win for us.  I’m proud of our team who managed to pull it together.  It was a nice sloppy game.  I’ll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day.  I’m proud of the game we played overall, especially defensively.  After tonight we’ve got to get ready for Hampton..  They’ve always been a tough team for us, so we’ve got to go out and be fearless and put ourselves in a batter situation for the MEAC tournament.  I think we’ve got a great team.  It’s been a rollercoaster ride.  We lost two games last week that I thought we shouldn’t have.  We’ve just got to bounce back and keep moving forward,” Gibson said.

Morrison continued her active play, giving the Rattlers their second chance with key rebounds.  “I just tell my team to keep playing and keep the intensity up,” Morrison said.

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