By ALEX LOMONACO
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Feb. 2) - “I told my team one thing before the game; leave everything on the floor and have fun out there”
That was FAMU Women’s head coach LeDawn Gibson after her Rattlers came up short against conference leading North Carolina A&T, 56-48.
If you entered the game not knowing the standings of each team, you would not believe you were watching the top team in the conference facing off against the lowest ranked team.
That is because of the effort the Rattlers brought from the start, especially on the defensive side of the ball. For the first time this season the Rattlers installed a full court defense, and it made a difference as the Rattlers forced 13 Aggie turnovers and 21% shooting from the field in the first half, as the game was tied after two quarters of play, 24-24.
For a while David made Goliath sweat it out.
In the third quarter, North Carolina A&T built a 13-point lead thanks in part to their rotation of centers Rayven Peeples, Alexus Lessears and Shantell Bostick towering over and cleaning up the glass on the offensive end, amounting to an astounding 22 total offensive rebounds, and a total rebound advantage of 55 to 33 for the Aggies.
However, the Rattlers would mount a twelve point themselves to cut the lead to one in the middle of the fourth quarter. However, the Rattlers ran out of gas after that and the Aggies pulled away with easy put backs on offensive rebounds and handed the Rattlers their third consecutive loss.
“I saw my team doing a lot of growing up today and I am proud of the way they played with passion against a good opponent,” said coach Gibson after the game.
When asked if she would keep going with full court pressing for the rest of the season Gibson said “Yes we are because it is the only way we are going to bring energy against the opposing team. We no longer are going to let them impose their will on us on offense.”
Rattlers star forward Dy’Manee Royal had a tough time scoring against the Aggies towering centers scoring nine points, wiht seven of them coming from the charity stripe where she shot seven for ten.
Freshman Mya Moye led FAMU will 11 points, followed by first year player Autumn Goram with 10 points. Royal was the leading rebounder with eight boards.
Late in the fourth quarter Royal suffered an apparent leg injury as she had to get subbed out as the game finished. When asked about the status of her injury Royal told the press that her leg is sore now, but she will be fine and ready to go for the next game.
That next game for FAMU (3-17, 1-7 MEAC) will be against North Carolina Central on Monday which will tip off at 4:00 p.m. to accommodate an ESPNU telecast of the Men’s game, which starts at 7:0 p.m.