WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (8-9, 4-3 CIAA) held off the hard-charging Shaw Lady Bears (5-13, 2-4 CIAA) in a 65-59 victory, Wednesday evening. After taking a big early lead, the Rams needed some clutch play in the final minutes to claim their third straight victory.
The Rams took the win behind a solid overall effort at both ends of the court. WSSU sophomore guard Brionna Pate led the effort with a game-high 11 points and seven rebounds while senior forward Jasmine Carter and senior center Taylor Boyd both added 10 points off the bench. Junior forward Briana Arnold pulled in a team-high 10 rebounds as well.
The Rams took control of the game early to build a 10-point first quarter lead. The Rams got off to a hot start with an 8-2 start, capped off by a lay-up from junior center Kandace Tate with 6:55 left in the quarter. The Rams' lead went to double digits at the 1:07 mark when Boyd hit a jumper at the 1:07 mark. From there, the Rams cruised to the 26-16 first quarter lead.
The second quarter saw the Rams hold off a resurgent effort by the Lady Bears, but the Rams would not relent. Midway through the quarter, the Rams saw their lead cut in half, leading 34-29 with 4:23 left in the half. However, the Rams would not let their lead get away from them as a Pate lay-up in the final minutes kept the Rams in front 40-33. However, the Lady Bears would add a pair of free throws in the final minute to leave WSSU on top, 40-35 at halftime.
The third quarter saw the Rams fend off a big challenge when the team saw its lead whittled down to just two points. A 5-2 run by the Lady Bears would cut the WSSU lead to just 42-40 with 8:24 left to play. However, the Rams were not ready to relent. The Rams scored seven unanswered points to go ahead 49-42 after an Arnold lay-up with 5:17 left in the quarter. However, the Lady Bears would not go away. After scoring just one field goal in the final five minutes of the quarter, the Rams finished the quarter with a slim, 51-48 lead.
The Rams' biggest test was yet to come when the team had to make some clutch plays to pull out the victory. The first challenge of the game came at the 8:46 mark when Shaw connected on a three-pointer, but a Tate lay-up with 7:57 left answered the call. After falling behind by as many as three points, the Rams answered when senior guard Taelor Mandeville tied the game with a three-pointer at the 3:56 mark. In the final minutes, the Rams used a Shaw miscue to spark a dramatic late run to claim the victory. With just under a minute left, the Lady Bears suffered a pair of technical fouls following another foul that sent the Rams to the free throw line for six attempts. The Rams went four-for-six in the attempts to spark a seven-point run that included an Arnold lay-up with five seconds left to cap the 65-59 victory.
With the win, the Rams improve to 8-9 overall and 4-3 in CIAA play. More importantly, the team improves to 2-0 in CIAA Southern Division play. The team will hit the road for their next action as the team heads to Fayetteville, North Carolina to take on the Fayetteville State Lady Broncos in a 1:00 p.m. game.
For more information on Rams women's basketball, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.