UMES HANGS ON TO TOP FLORIDA A&M, 64-62
Jan. 15, 2011
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - Florida A&M's Antonia Bennett drove the lane and missed a layup with one second on the clock as the University of Maryland Eastern Shore women's basketball team dodged a second-half comeback by the Lady Rattlers, holding on for a 64-62 win in its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference home opener at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center Saturday.
Kwinnyata Mercer (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) and Chelsea Sanders (Rochester, N.Y.) had 15 points apiece to help stave off the charge. The win, the Lady Hawks' second in three games, moves them to 4-11 overall and 1-2 in the MEAC while FAMU falls to 6-9 and 2-2 on the season with the loss. Mercer was 6-for-13 from the floor and added a team-high eight rebounds. Sanders went 6-of-10 in her first game back after a five-game absence from the lineup.
UMES ran out to a 40-26 lead at the half before FAMU slowly chipped away at the deficit behind Bennett, who had 20 of her game-high 26 points in the final period. Up, 58-48, with less than 11 minutes to play, Bennett scored nine straight points for the visitors to cut the UMES advantage to 61-57 with 6:57 left. Casey Morton (Mardela Springs, Md.) hit a layup at the 5:55 mark to lengthen the lead to 63-57 but UMES was held off the scoreboard, with exception of one Morton foul shot, for the rest of the game as FAMU crept back in.
Qianna Donald converted a layup with 2:21 left and Bennett drained a 3-pointer from the corner with 14 seconds remaining to setup the final play.
Morton knocked down a pair from the line to give her team an 18-16 edge with 10:29 left in the first half and ignite a 5-0 run to give UMES some space, 21-16, with 8:54 left on a Mercer layup. Bria Jackson (Rochester, N.Y.) extended the bulge to 26-18 with a 3-pointer with 6:23 before the break.
Christian Rateree hit a jumper for Florida A&M prior to four straight by Jackson and Latoya Buckner (Washington, D.C.) gave UMES its first double-digit lead of the day, 30-20, at the five-minute mark.
UMES built its advantage to as many as 19 points early in the second half when Mercer ended a 9-4 run with a jumper for a 49-30 score. Florida A&M started its comeback with a 14-4 stretch to get within nine at 53-44 on a Bennett long ball with 14:01 left.
Donald was the only other FAMU player in double figures with 10. She grabbed 10 rebounds to complete a double-double. Morton and Buckner each finished with eight points for UMES.
The UMES bench outscored FAMU's non-starters, 35-16, and outrebounded the Lady Rattlers, 41-38, including 15 on the offensive glass for 13 second chance points.
UMES hosts Bethune-Cookman Monday at 2 p.m.