Lady Rattlers Win Tournament Opener

March 6, 2007

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Florida A&M Women's Basketball team advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2007 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament with a 59-46 win over archrival Bethune-Cookman, Tuesday evening at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

The Lady Wildcats jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the Lady Rattlers.

FAMU scored their first points of the game on a Secrett Anderson basket at the 14:54 mark of the half, after missing their first eight previous shots of the game.

"In the first half our offense was not really working well for us. At the half, I told them we had to go out there and play our game," said FAMU Head Women's Basketball Coach Debra Clark.

A Deidra Jones three-pointer gave the Lady Rattlers, their first lead of the game, 21-20, with 4:57 remaining.

B-CC would tie the game at 24 all to end the first half on a Ferguson lay-up with three seconds remaining.

"We started the game, the way we wanted to start it. We added a new wrinkle and it worked for a period of time," said Bethune-Cookman, head coach Francis Simmons.

"I have been told, it is hard to beat a team three times. Naturally they got better, they scouted us better and they know what to expect from us a little bit more. But we knew that we had to come out and keep intensity up and to come out play them twice as hard," said junior guard Q'Vaunda Curry.

FAMU shot 25.8 percent (8-of-31) from the floor in the first half, while BCC shot 38.5 percent (10-of-26) from the field.

Stephanie Foster nailed a three pointer with 12:41 remaining, capping a 13-6 run by the Lady Rattlers to begin the second half, giving them a 37-30 lead.

"I thought, we played a lot better in the second half. Stephanie Foster made some key baskets for us from off the bench," said Clark.

Taniyah Dawson extended the Lady Rattlers lead to 11 points on a made free throw with 11:15 remaining, giving them a 43-32 lead.

The Lady Rattlers would then enjoy leads of 13 points or more five times for the remainder of the second half. Curry nailed a trey with 12 second remaining for a 59-46 final.

FAMU (15-15) was paced by Stephanie Foster with 12 points, followed by Q'Vaunda Curry with 11 points. Denise Tate led the Lady Rattlers on the boards with nine and Marke Freeman dished out five assists.

"With this being the tournament, it is so hard to go home. I just felt that, when I got my opportunity to play, I wanted to contribute to my teams successful as much as I could,"said sophomore guard Stephanie Foster.

"Stephanie (Foster) is a really good player, she goes hard in practice. So, we know what to expect and I know what shots, she is really capable of. I know on the fast break, I can count on looking up and seeing Stephanie and her knocking down the big shot for us," said freshman guard Marke Freeman.

BCC (5-25) was led by a trio of scorers with Cassandra Calcagno leading the way with 13 points. Natasha Ferguson finished with a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Tristan McCray finished with 11 points.

"If we just make one or two outside shots, we could be where we wanted to be, said Simmons.

FAMU finished the game shooting 30.4 percent (17-of-56) from the floor, while BCC shot 35.8 percent (19-of-53). The Lady Rattlers out rebounded the Lady Wildcats 44-36.

The Lady Rattlers will return to action against No. 3 seed North Carolina A&T on Thursday, March 8 at Noon at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.