Florence Outtara was one of the leaders for FAMU as it strolled past Norfolk State, 80-73
Head Coach LeDawn Gibson said she had to fire up her team to get them going.
“I had to use some choice words to jolt my team into action. They just came out flat. After challenging our spark plug, forward Shakerrya Morrison, it spilled over to the rest of the team. I never have to get Victoria (Nguyen) going, I actually have to calm her down most of the time. At some point I felt we were in sync and we began to play Rattler basketball,” Gibson said.
Thursday’s come-from behind victory sends the Lady Rattlers to the semifinal round in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) basketball tournament for the first time since 2012, where they will face archrival and No. 1 seed Bethune-Cookman (20-9). Bethune-Cookman opened its tournament title bid with a 59-49 win over Savannah State earlier this week.
Should Rattler women advance past Bethune-Cookman on Friday, they will make their first MEAC Tournament finals appearance since 1999.
Florence Outtara got the scoring ball rolling in the first half, hitting two three-pointers. Victoria Nguyen led the offense from the point guard position, distributing the ball as well as efficient scoring.
FAMU rode a 25-17 fourth quarter surge to victory, led by Sweeting and Nguyen with 16 points each, Ouattara with 15 points, along with stellar rebounding from senior Alicia McCray with 13, and Morrison with 12.
FAMU trailed through the first three quarters as homestanding Norfolk State took a 24-18 lead after one, and held a 43-35 edge at halftime. FAMU began its comeback in the third period, outscoring NSU, 20-13, to pull within one point, 56-55 with a quarter to go.
The Rattler women took a five-point lead, 62-57 on a Ouattara three- pointer with 6:36 left, and led by a slim 64-61 count at the fourth quarter media timeout.
FAMU then staged a 16-12 finishing flurry to ice the game and advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2012.