FAMU (11-18, 9-7 MEAC) had come into Thursday’s game having won three straight outings and seven of their last 11 games, with hopes of avenging their 64-41 loss to B-CU in Tallahassee in January.
And those hopes seemed realistic for a time, as FAMU, trailing 21-11 after one quarter, outpaced the Wildcats, 19-16 in the scoring column in the second period, to close to within seven points, 37-30 at the half.
The Rattler Women slipped even closer in the third period, trailing 41-39 at the media timeout with 4:38 left, but the home club rode an 11-4 finishing surge to reassert control at 52-43 after three periods.
Cookman (19-8, 15-1 MEAC) closed out the game with a 14-10 scoring edge in the final stanza to add a season sweep of the home-and-home series with FAMU to their previously clinched regular season title.
Junior forward Shakerrya Morrison led FAMU with an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double, followed by junior forward Shalunda “LaLa” Burney-Robinson’s 10-point, 10-rebound double-double, with senior guard Victoria Nguyen adding 11 points.
LOOKING AHEAD TO NORFOLK: Despite Thursday’s loss, FAMU will open the 2017 MEAC Basketball Tournament at The Scope, as the No. 4 seed, thanks to Coppin State (8-8) home loss Thursday to Hampton, and the Rattlers owning the head-to-head tiebreaker over Norfolk State (9-7) due to their 59-51 win over the Spartans in Tallahassee, Feb. 12.
The Rattlers will play the tournament’s first game Monday at 11:00 a.m. against the No. 13 seed, South Carolina State (2-14 MEAC), whom they defeated just five days ago (Saturday, Feb. 25), 81-61 in Orangeburg.
Should FAMU win their opener Monday morning, they will get a bit of a layover until Thursday’s quarterfinal round, where they would meet the winner of No. 5 Norfolk State and No. 12 Delaware State at 2:00 p.m.
A NOTE OF CAUTION: Official tournament pairings are to be released by the MEAC later Thursday evening or on Friday morning.