FAYETTEVILLE, NC – The Winston-Salem State Lady Rams (9-10, 4-5 CIAA) could not find the answers late as the team took a tough 61-56 road loss to the Fayetteville State Lady Broncos (16-3, 8-1 CIAA), Saturday afternoon. The loss came in spite of a great effort by the team that saw the Lady Rams control the majority of the contest, but faded late in the game.
After taking a 26-19 first half lead, the Lady Rams were outscored 42-30 in the second half to take the hard-fought loss. Though the team took its fourth straight loss, the team put on an impressive performance, shooting a solid 39.2% from the floor and forced 26 FSU turnovers. WSSU senior forward Schatavia Gray led the effort with her second double-double of the season when she scored a team-high 11 points with 11 rebounds in the game. WSSU junior guard Keyrra Gillespie also gave a solid effort in her return from an ankle injury with 17 minutes of play and eight points with three assists.
In the early going, it was the Lady Rams who controlled the game as the team's defense stifled the Lady Broncos and put WSSU on top 13-0 through the first seven minutes of play. From there, the Lady Rams kept the pressure up, going ahead by as many as 17 points, 19-2 on a lay-up from sophomore forward Dionna Scott with 9:43 left in the half. From there, the Lady Rams held off the hard-charging Lady Broncos who cut the WSSU lead down to just four points, 21-17, with 1:19 left in the half. It was a 15-2 run by the Lady Broncos that challenged the Lady Rams, but the team stood up to the challenge and held on to take a 26-19 lead in to the locker room at halftime.
In the second half, the Lady Rams did the best they could to hold off the Lady Broncos' comeback effort, but found themselves struggling to hold on as an FSU jumper left the Lady Rams on top, 33-32 with 14:39 left. From there, the Lady Rams would play keep-away with the lead until back-to-back Lady Bronco scores left the Lady Rams trailing for the first time 38-36 with 13:10 left to play. WSSU would make a late run to get back into the game as a Gillespie free throw pulled the team within one point, 49-48 with 7:05 left. The team would tie the game, 52-52, after a pair of Gillespie free throws with 4:39 left to play. However, the Lady Rams were never able to get back on top as FSU outscored the Lady Rams 9-4 in the final minutes of the game, including connecting on five free throws in the final minute while holding the Lady Rams to just one made basket to seal the WSSU 61-56 loss.
With the loss, the Lady Rams remain winless in the CIAA Southern Division and fall to 4-5 in CIAA play. The team will look to get things back on track, Wednesday when they head to Charlotte, N.C. to take on the Johnson C. Smith Lady Golden Bulls. 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.