|Grice, Sparkman Combine To Lead Florida A&M To Win Over Delaware State||< All News|
|Monday, March 10, 2014|
Norfolk, Va.—Jasmine Grice poured in22 of her game-high 32 points in the second half and Kimberly Sparkman tallied all of her 20 after intermission to help Florida A&M pull away to an 86-58 win over Delaware State in the opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament at the Norfolk Scope.
The Rattlers (17-13), the Number 4 seed, advance to the quarterfinal round on Thursday where they will play the winner of the Savannah State-Morgan State game at 2:30 pm.
The Lady Hornets (8-21), the Number 13 seed, managed to stay close through most of the first and closed what had been a double digit deficit to 34-28 on a half-court heave by Raven Bankston at the buzzer. Florida A&M’s Taneka Rubin led all scorers with 12 and Grice added 10. Bankston paced Delaware State with 11.
With seeming momentum, the Lady Hornets were able reduce the margin to five at 37-32 at the 17:59 mark. But Grice, the MEAC Player of the Year and Sparkman, took over from that point, reeling off a 15-6 run that all but decided the outcome. Grice hit on four of five from the floor and converted 13 of 15 from the free throw line. Sparkman, her backcourt mate, who missed all of her shots in the first half, converted on seven of eight in the second stanza as Florida A&M shot a sizzling 63 percent (15 of 24) in the second half.
“We didn’t feel like we played our game in the first half,” noted Florida A&M head coach LeDawn Gibson. “We came out kind of slow, kind of methodical. We did some good things in the beginning but that was our adrenaline. But then we took our foot off the gas and settled for things instead of playing our game. In the second half, we just went back to playing FAMU basketball.”
The Lady Rattlers defense played a big role in the dominance as they forced Delaware State into 14 second half turnovers—24 for the game—that they converted into 22 points. Delaware State got an outstanding performance from Bankston, who scored 17 of her team-high 28 points in the second half. An MEAC All-Rookie first team selection, Bankston connected on 11 of 26 from the field. Deanna Harmon added 16 points in a losing cause.
“She is a special player,” said Gibson of Bankston. “Your scouting plan goes out the window because she does things that you don’t think she can do. She has a very bright future in this conference.”