As the basketball team sat on 98 points, Rattler fans waited anxiously for the next score. Guard Keturah Martin then passed the ball to Patrice Collie, and the rest was history.
The Lady Rattlers (16-5, 9-0 MEAC) reached a school record set in 1995 for points scored as they thrashed the North Carolina Central Lady Eagles (2-20, 0-9 MEAC) 102-66, extending their winning streak to 13 games Saturday in the Al Lawson Center.
This was the first time the Al Lawson Center had seen at least 100 points scored in a game.
Four players scored in double figures. Flirting with a triple-double, senior Antonia Bennett posted 27 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. She also collected six steals.
Bennett said the team is difficult to beat when it puts forth the effort that it did.
“We could be very dangerous,” Bennett said. “We just need to stay humble and keep executing. We plan on keeping it like this.”
The Lady Rattlers never trailed in the game. They began the game on a 9-2 run and quickly padded the lead to double digits eight minutes into the game.
They were clicking offensively as well, capping the first half with a score by senior Kimberly Sparkman just before the buzzer. That gave the team a 52-29 advantage at halftime.
Head coach LeDawn Gibson’s team applied its full court pressure defense against the Lady Eagles to force turnovers. In the first half, they forced 16 turnovers and scored 24 points off of them.
Gibson said she was pleased with the way her team’s defense disrupted the Lady Eagles offense.
“The effort that they showed on defense tonight was incredible,” Gibson said. “We weren’t going to stop them every time, but I loved the effort.”
The team continued its intensity during the second half. The lead stretched to as much as 38 points midway through the half after senior Qiana Donald made her first three-pointer of the season.
Donald, who scored 23 points and nabbed 11 rebounds, said that that she was able to shoot since the team had a sizable lead.
“We had talked about it and coach had given me the green light to shoot it,” Donald said.
With 2:39 remaining, the Lady Rattlers were within six points of the century mark. Kaylin Foreman scored inside, then Bennett scored off of a turnover. When Collie scored, the team hit the century mark and the entire arena erupted in cheers.
Senior Tameka McKelton and Sparkman also scored in double figures, scoring 21 and 15 respectively. As a team, the Lady Rattlers made more than 50 percent of their shots and scored 50 points in the paint.
Gibson said despite the offensive output, the team would continue doing the things that built the winning streak.
“We have to stay humble, stay grounded and continue to work hard in practice,” she said. “Especially the seniors, they said that they don’t feel like we are going anywhere but up.”
The Lady Rattlers will look to extend their winning streak as they compete Monday against the North Carolina A&T Aggies in the Al Lawson Center.