The Paine College Lady Lions waited until homecoming to have their best outing of the season.
Paine created 23 first-half turnovers en route to a 102-53 victory over the Barber-Scotia Lady Sabers at the HEAL Complex on Saturday.
Ashley Watts, who leads NCAA Division II women in scoring at 26.5 points per game, poured in a game-high 31 for the Lady Lions.
“We got a lot of steals using our press defense. I feel like if we play that way on defense, then we will have a chance to beat anybody,” Watts said. “We have to play the game from beginning to end every time. We’ve been looking forward to homecoming for a long time and it showed in our intensity.”
The team’s 102 points and 44 forced turnovers are season highs.
Sophomore guard Tannasia Rhodes led the early defensive charge, tallying eight steals in the first half. She finished with 10 steals to go with six points and a team-high nine assists.
“She is the catalyst for our defense,” Lady Lions coach Willie Adams said. “I’ve put more leadership on her shoulders and today was her taking command of that role.”
Paine’s lone senior, Ariel Brown, said the championship-like atmosphere in the gym was the perfect ending to her final homecoming. Brown scored 20 points, dished out three assists and grabbed a game-high nine boards.
“This team was bigger than ours so I tried to grab every rebound and go a little harder for my last homecoming,” Brown said. “I love that we played good as a team, which is the only way that we could have scored in triple digits.”
Adams, who was honored along with the rest of the 1993-1994 Paine College men’s team at halftime of the men’s game, said the defensive effort early set the tone for the rest of the game.
“We have been working hard on the defensive side of the ball trying to create more opportunities for us,” Adams said. “It’s February, but we are preparing our habits for the conference and national tournaments. We want to buckle down on defense and execute our sets on offense.”