By FAMU sports information intern Marvyn Joseph
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Feb.16) - The Florida A&M Women's Basketball team lost another close game as the Howard University Lady Bison defeated them, 58-57, here Saturday evening at the Alfred Lawson Center in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference action.
FAMU (9-15, 6-5 MEAC) had two Lady Rattlers to score in double figures as Jasmine Grice carried the team with 23 points and eight rebounds. Kimberly Sparkman followed with 18 points.
HU (15-9, 9-3 MEAC) had two Lady Bison to score in double figures as Saadia Doyle led the team with 23 points and six rebounds. Kara Smith had 13 points.
The Lady Rattlers shot 38-percent (21-of-56) from the field and 79-percent (11-of-14) from the free throw line. FAMU lost the battle in the paint as the Lady Bison outscored them 24-12 and won in the second chance point's column 13-4.
The Lady Bison shot poorly from the field in the first half, making 35-percent (11-of-31) and turned over the ball 18 times for the game. Howard picked it up in the second half as they shot 48-percent (12-of-25) from the field and scored 32 points in the second half versus the 26 points they scored in the first.
The Lady Rattlers were in the driver's seat through the closing minutes, but a missed layup by Jamie Foreman led to a dagger three-pointer by Kara Smith that put the Lady Bison up by one. Grice was fouled with 26 seconds remaining and sank both free throws. Jerrelle Gorham made a strong layup as the Rattlers had only 10 seconds left in the game. Grice had a tough look but couldn't get the shot off in time as the buzzer went off, ending in the 58-57 final.
Coach LeDawn Gibson was lost for words as she couldn't believe the game slipped away from them in the closing seconds. "This was one of our best games. We played great offensively and defensively together for the most part. It was a very hard fought game but a disappointing loss," said Gibson.
Gibson was grateful to have Sparkman on the court as she was battling a back injury she suffered against North Carolina A&T. Sparkman made three key baskets in the second half that gave the Lady Rattlers the lead before Smith's three. "I praise God she was able to play because she hadn't practiced with us this week. We didn't know what was wrong with her but I got here and she told me she was ready to go. She's a team player and stepped up today," said Gibson.
Sparkman reiterated that effort and closing out the game led to the loss and with the MEAC Conference weeks away, it's time to get focused.
"I feel like we played offensively and defensively as a team but didn't put everything else together. Late in the game when you have crucial moments like that and people aren't contributing... you're going to lose," said Sparkman.
The Lady Rattlers return to action on Sat., Feb.23 as they take on the Savannah State Tigers in a MEAC contest in the Al Lawson Center at 4 p.m.