Tamika Mckelton’s potential, game-sealing three-pointer was spoiled by missed free throws. Misses that led to a South Carolina State Bulldog 76-70 overtime victory.
“Free throws is the reason we lost,” Mckelton said. “If we would have made our free throws in regulation, we would have been up by four.”
Shekeira Copeland made one of two free throws with eight seconds left in regulation, leaving the Bulldogs a solid chance at taking the game to overtime.
“We missed six free throws prior to Copeland missing a free throw,” head coach LeDawn Gibson said.
Whitney Wiley netted a three from the right wing to send the contest into overtime. She scored four points in overtime and finished with 13 points in the game.
“Before the Bulldogs last possession we told them to guard their three-point shooter, which was Wiley. They let her go off a screen and get wide open,” Gibson said.
Both teams matched each other point for point in the extra period until a Myeshia Simms technical foul gave the Lady Bulldogs the advantage.
Gibson told Simms after the game the referees were terrible all game, this overtime period was too crucial to be yelling at them.
Quiana Donald scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds in the first half. She finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds. She controlled the painted area, leading the Lady Rattler’s in rebounds.
The Lady Rattlers second leading scorer Antonia Bennett will be ready for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.
“We will have another scoring option, another versatile player that can go inside and out, another wing guard and another strong rebounder. We really need her back,” Mckelton said.
The Lady Rattlers have one more road game against rival, Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, at 5:30 p.m. They look toward the MEAC tournament being held in Salem, N.C. on March 7-12. A bracket tournament with top eight teams in the MEAC.
“I know we have the talent to win the MEAC tournament,” Copeland said. “We want to go out and win it. We just know we have to come with our A-game every night and we know it guarantees us a spot in the championship game.”
A victory against Bethune-Cookman could give the Lady Rattlers momentum going into the tournament.