Dec. 3, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE - The Fayetteville State women's basketball team has a flair for the dramatic.
Senior Randi Watts' rebound and put back with less than a minute remaining helped give the Broncos a 76-73 win over Barton College on Thursday.
"I was just hoping they didn't call a charge on me," Watts said. "I knew we had to win. I'm a senior this year and I really want to go out with a bang. Coach (Eva Patterson-Heath) said in the beginning, that if we step up and play together, we'd get the win. We did that and I'm proud of my teammates."
FSU (4-2) has won its last two games at Capel Arena by a combined six points and has won 11 of its last 13 home games.
"The crowd is a huge advantage for us," said junior forward Mercedes Humphries. "They help us get inside of our opponents head as well as boost our heads up. They help make us play harder."
On the game's final play, Humphries blocked a desperation 3-point attempt by the Bulldogs to help preserve the FSU victory.
"I had to hustle back, because my intentions were to stop No. 32 (Esty Flores) from getting the ball," Humphries said. "So, when she passed it to No. 25 (Jannetta Robinson) I knew that she was going to shoot it. It was just a part of playing defense."
Flores led all scorers with 28 points and Jamila Johnson added 11 points and seven assists.
Watts had a season-high 11 points and pulled down five rebounds in 28 minutes of play.
"She played very well for us," first-year head coach Eva Patterson-Heath said. "I told them that if you produce on the floor you can stay on the court. She needed that - it was a boost of confidence for her."
The Broncos streak of 30 or more turnovers continued, but Patterson-Heath's team forced 33 Barton miscues and scored 30 points off of those turnovers.
FSU trailed 30-18 midway through the first half, but used a 32-15 run to take a 48-45 lead with 13:34 left in the second half.
"We changed defenses from a man-to-man to a 1-3-1 zone," Patterson-Heath said. "That worked for us and we were able to close the gap."
Added Watts: "We knew we had to contain No. 32 and we did that. We just stayed positive in that stretch."
Patterson-Heath said she's seen growth in her team over the last two weeks.
"I saw us executing some half-court offenses," she said. "I saw us do some things that we haven't done before and I was so proud. "
FSU will break for exams before returning to the court for a game at Barton on Dec. 12. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. FSU has only two games in December, both against Barton.
"This break is coming at the right time," Watts said. "We're learning how to play with each other and we're excited. This is just a relief right now."
L'oreal Price, a senior guard, had a team-high 19 points for the Broncos. Danielle Russell tallied 14 points and four assists while center Deja Middleton added 10 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Tiffany Haywood had a game-high ten rebounds.
Note: Assistant coach Brittney Parker celebrated a birthday on Tuesday.