Nine Games and Counting: Lady Rattlers Keep the Streak Going at Home

One game removed from offensive struggles, the Florida A&M women’s basketball team entered Monday’s contest against the South Carolina State looking to redeem itself.

By the end of regulation time, it had done exactly that.

Senior Antonia Bennett scored 27 points and added five rebounds as the Lady Rattlers defeated South Carolina State 79-62, Monday in the Al Lawson Center.

Bennett paced the offense, which scored much more efficiently compared to Saturday, shooting 51 percent from the field and assisting on 21 of the 32 buckets.

Bennett said the offensive flow of the team was much better.

“Last game we didn’t shoot well but we were clicking tonight,” Bennett said after the game. “We were just finding our shooters and we were hitting the open person.”

The Lady Rattlers never trailed in the game. They began the game with an 8-2 run and pushed the score to 38-24 by halftime. Bennett was a catalyst for this, as she led all scorers with 14 in the first half.

Head coach LeDawn Gibson’s team used its defense to disrupt the Lady Bulldogs’ offense. The defense used its length to force 17 turnovers and 32 percent shooting.

Guard Kimberly Sparkman said the tenacity on defense was a complete team effort.

“We were trying to play solid defense all together,” Sparkman said. “All we had to do was talk and let each other know what was going on.”

Entering the second half, the Lady Rattlers maintained their first-half energy by going on a 12-2 run, sparked by three pointers from Bennett and senior Tameka McKelton. McKelton finished the game with 12 points while Sparkman finished with nine and six assists.

The Lady Rattlers’ lead increased to as high as 24.

Gibson said she was also very pleased with the energy her team came out with from the opening tip.

“We preach energy in the game and in practice even if people are rotation in,” Gibson said. “We just told them to stay grounded and go have fun.”

Gibson said the team plans to continue doing the things it is used to in order keep its winning streak.

“We have to stay humble and stay grounded,” she said. “We have to stay positive and keep working.”

The Lady Rattlers will look to continue their winning streak on their two-game road trip beginning Saturday against the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks.