HICKORY, NC – The Winston-Salem State Lady Rams (1-4) took a tough 68-60 loss at Lenoir-Rhyne (3-1), Tuesday evening. Though the Lady Rams took the loss, the game featured an offensive and a defensive breakout for the Lady Rams that could pay off well in the future.
"Anytime you lose, it's disappointing, but I see progress. I thought offensively we were a little bit better. We shot a little better, but we've still got a ways to go, offensively," WSSU Women's Basketball Head Coach A.G. Hall said. "Defensively, we bailed them out with a lot of fouls and that took away any chances that we had to come back in the second half. But the progress is there so we'll continue to build from that."
As a team, the Lady Rams had one of their best performances of the season, shooting 35.9% from the field and forcing 31 Lenoir-Rhyne turnovers. After three games with no double-digit scorers, the Lady Rams saw three players reach double-digit scoring in the contest. WSSU junior guard Keyrra Gillespie broke out for a career-high 14 points in the game while fellow junior Schatavia Gray added 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Junior guard Taylar Wells added 10 points. Junior forward Somalia McKenney added eight rebounds as well.
The Lady Rams opened the game with an aggressive offensive attack that paid off with the team taking a 10-8 lead midway through the half. However, things would get bad in a hurry for the Lady Rams as Lenoir-Rhyne responded with a 19-3 run over the next five minutes that left WSSU trailing 27-13 with 4:24 left in the half. The Lady Rams would kick things into gear down the stretch of the half to pull things to within 12 points as a Gillespie three-pointer with two seconds left pulled the Lady Rams within 12 points 36-24 at halftime.
In the second half, the Lady Rams' struggles continued early, but a furious late rally gave the team new life in the game's final minutes. The first five minutes of the half were tough for the Lady Rams as the Bears pushed their lead to as many as 19 points after outscoring the Lady Rams 13-6. However, the Lady Rams would not give in as the team began a furious rally to fight their way back into the game. Midway through the half, Gillespie would get things going when she scored five straight points to spark an 1803 run by the Lady Rams that saw the team hold the Bears to just one field goal for the final 10 minutes of the game. However, foul troubles would plague the Lady Rams and kept the Bears on top as the WSSU rally fell short in the 68-60 loss.
"I thought we did enough to give ourselves a chance at the end, but now we have to learn how to win," Hall added. "We definitely did enough to give ourselves a chance to win down the stretch, but now we have to work on executing down the stretch … especially on the road when there are so many things stacked against you."
With the loss, the Lady Rams fall to 1-4 on the season. After four straight road games, the team will return home to host the Tusculum Pioneers in the first game of a doubleheader. For more information on Lady Rams basketball, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.