By Florida A&M Sports Information
Antonia Bennett had a stellar four-year career with the FAMU Lady Rattlers. She capped her time with the Lady Rattlers by winning the MEAC Player of the Year award for 2012, leading her squad to a 21-win season. After acquiring her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in May, Bennett began working out for professional teams and leagues across the globe. While the WNBA is the desire of most college basketball players in America, the success and reputation of the European women’s leagues was not a let down by any means.
Coach LeDawn Gibson was excited, but not surprised that Bennett got the opportunity. “We knew Antonia was the caliber of player that could play at the next level. Combine that with the work ethic that she displayed, it’s no surprise to us that she’ll have the opportunity to play at the next level,” Gibson said.
Bennett had a spectacular senior season for FAMU. She led the conference in scoring for most of the season, ending the season averaging 18.1 points-per-game, surpassing the 1,500 career points mark late in the season. She also led the conference in defensive rebounds at 6.8 per game.
Bennett was elated to have options after graduation. “I feel really good about getting the chance to play in Poland. It will be a new experience, coupled with the opportunity to see a different part of the world. I’m excited about the opportunity to continue to play ball,” Bennett said.
In the Summer of 2011, she was invited to camp as a finalist for Team USA for the Pan Am Games. Several professional basketball contacts inquired about her throughout the season. Her size and ability to play inside and outside has drawn the attention of basketball consumers across the country. Her demeanor, leadership and scholastic achievements have earned the respect of peers in the conference.
“At FAMU, I’ve grown a lot both physically and mentally. Navigating through FAMU afforded me the experience to navigate in the real world. I’m going to miss my teammates and friends. Some of my friends want to come to Poland with me, but I want to get focused on my game,” Bennett said.
Bennett joins a short but impressive list of Lady Rattlers to achieve the honor of MEAC Player of the Year. Natalie White won the honor in 1995, followed by Cathy Robinson in 1996. In 2003 Kim Watson won the honor and Bennett becomes the fourth Lady Rattler to achieve the honor.
Bennett exprerssed the importance of finishing her degree as she pursues her options. “Even with a successful career, you can’t play ball forever. That’s why I’m so excited that I got my degreee from FAMU, because that opens up a big set of options for me when I stop playing,” she concluded.