SAVANNAH, Ga.-Junior guard JaQuayla Berry made the most of her homecoming on Monday night at Tiger Arena. In front of several family members and friends, the Douglas, Ga. native collected her seventh double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds with three steals--surpassing the 1,000-career point mark-en route to helping the Aggies defeat the Tigers 88-74.
She is the 12th player in North Carolina A&T women's basketball program history to hit that milestone, and the seventh under current A&T head coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs.
"It feels great," Berry said about her achievement. "It's a great feeling and it's been a long time coming. It's been a lot of hard work, and I've had a lot of support to get here."
"Pretty much anybody I came across gave me support," she continued. "Family, friends, fans, alumni, coaches, players, former players-they helped me stay focused and to work hard and to get me where I am today."
She collected her 1,000th point at the free throw line, hitting the first shot at the 18:18 mark in the second half of the game on Monday to make history.
To reach 1,000 points especially in front of family and friends was important.
"It was good to be able to do it here and for them to be able to enjoy the moment with me," said Berry, who left Tiger Arena to celebrate with her mother after the team's 88-74 victory.
Berry struggled in the first half, going 0-for-5 from the floor and collecting her four points from the line. But she found success in the second half, collecting 13 points and seven boards.
"It was motivational," she said of her first half performance. "I knew I just had to go out there and do what I had to do to get the win."
And Berry's performance helped lead the Aggies to victory.
"I was looking down at JaQuayla, and it was a historic night for her. But then she was on the bench. I said, 'JaQuayla, Look at Amber. You've got to go out there and get it started. You are a player, you go get it done.' She went out and she did it," said head coach Patricia Cage-BIbbs, who won her 500th game on Monday, aided by Berry's performance.
For Berry, it was tremendous to reach 1,000 points on a night when Bibbs won her 500th game and Amber Calvin passed the 100 assists in a season mark.
"It was great to be able to share the moment with someone else and to be a part of their milestone too," Berry said.
The talented junior is making another strong case for being named an All-MEAC player for the second consecutive season. She has had quite a season and career thus far. In 2010-11, Berry led the team in scoring with 377 points, and ranked fourth in the MEAC with 14.5 ppg. She also ranked third in the nation with 3.4 steals per game in 2010-11.
This season, Berry leads the team in scoring (13.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.8 rbg). She hit double-digits in seven straight games from Nov. 12-Dec. 12, and in a season-best 11 straight games from Dec. 21-Feb. 6.
On Dec. 3 at N.C. Central, she had a season-best 28 points with 14 rebounds. She earned "Best individual off-the-radar weekend performance" honors from Graham Hays of ESPN.com for the Dec. 3 game. Against N.C. Central on Feb. 18, she tallied 23 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season. She posted 18 points and eight rebounds on Feb. 25 at S.C. State.
"I'm ready to put in the work to get a championship," Berry said.