RICHMOND, VA – The Winston-Salem State Lady Rams (5-6, 0-1) battled their way to a late lead, but a costly turnover and some clutch free throw shooting by the home-standing Panthers sealed the Lady Rams' first Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) loss of the season. The loss came in spite of a hard-fought battle that saw the Lady Rams and Lady Panthers battle for all 40 minutes of the contest.
The Lady Rams took the loss in spite of a great effort on both sides of the court as the team shot a solid 33.3% from the field while holding the Lady Panthers to shooting just 35.8% on their home court. Defensively, the Lady Rams had a solid game as well, forcing 20 VUU turnovers in the game. However, 21 WSSU turnovers proved costly as well in the loss. The WSSU junior tandem of junior guard Keyrra Gillespie and Taylar Wells led the way for the Lady Rams with 10 points each in the game. Gillespie added a team-high six assists and three steals in the game.
In the early going, the Lady Rams took control of the game early, jumping to an early 9-2 lead through the first five minutes of the game, but the Lady Panthers would answer as a 10-2 VUU run left the Lady Rams ahead 11-10 with 12:51 left in the first half. The Lady Rams would go on regain control of the contest with six straight points to stay ahead 17-10. Though the Lady Rams would continue to push, the team fell victim to a late drought, going scoreless for five minutes and allowing the Lady Panthers to regain control of the game, 19-17 with 6:00 left in the half. The Lady Rams would fall behind by as many as four points, 26-22 with 1:34 left in the half. From there, the Lady Rams would take their 28-24 deficit into the locker room at the half.
In the second half, WSSU sophomore guard McKenzie Weston would lead a WSSU charge that cut the Lady Rams deficit down to one point, 32-31 with 17:03 left. The Lady Rams would tie the game at the 14:19 mark when Gillespie scored six straight points to put the Lady Rams on top, 39-36 with 13:42 left. From there, the Lady Rams held on to their lead until the final seconds of the game when a pair of Gillespie free throws left the Lady Rams ahead 49-48 with 00:46 left. With three seconds left, the Lady Panthers hit a pair of clutch free throws to leave WSSU behind, 50-49. WSSU would turn the ball over on the next possession which was followed by a Lady Rams foul that allowed the Lady Panthers to hit two more free throws to leave the Lady Rams trailing 52-49. In the final game's final play, a Gillespie jumper was blocked and ended the evening with the WSSU loss.
With the loss, the Lady Rams fall to 5-6 overall and 0-1 in CIAA play. The team will remain on the road for their next action when they head to Lincoln, Pa. to take on the Lincoln (Pa.) Lady Lions. 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.