WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Lady Rams (13-12, 8-7 CIAA) picked up a key Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) victory on Senior Night when the team took a 55-45 win over the Johnson C. Smith Lady Golden Bulls (8-16, 5-10 CIAA), Wednesday evening at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. With the win, the Lady Rams ended an eight-year drought against the Lady Golden Bulls as WSSU has not defeated JCSU since the 2005 season.
The Lady Rams gave a stellar effort to take the win, shooting 44.7% from the field while holding Johnson C. Smith to shooting 27.5% from the field. WSSU senior forward Schatavia Gray led the way for the team with 10 points, a team-high seven rebounds, and two blocked shots in the game. Junior guard Taylar Wells led the WSSU scoring effort with 11 points while sophomore guard Tareka Cesar added 10 points.
The win didn't come without struggles for the Lady Rams, however, as the team committed 29 turnovers in the contest and struggled through a six-minute scoring drought. The biggest struggle for the team came late in the first half when junior guard Keyrra Gillespie suffered an injury late in the first half and missed the remainder of the game.
The Lady Rams opened the game on a high note, jumping out to a 10-3 lead after the first seven minutes of play. Though JCSU would make an effort to get back into the game, the Lady Rams answered, pushing their lead to 10 points 17-7 after a three-point play by sophomore guard McKenzie Weston at the 5:34 mark. The WSSU struggles would begin there as the team as the made lay-up was the final WSSU field goal of the half and was a part of a nearly 10-minute drought that the team would end until the second half. Making matters worse was an injury by junior guard Keyrra Gillespie. The team was able to turn up their defense and took a 19-13 lead into the locker room at the half.
The early second half as a struggle for the Lady Rams as the team soon found themselves trailing 25-19 after a 12-0 run by Johnson C. Smith. The Lady Rams would go down by as many as eight points, 29-21 at the 12:30 mark, but the team would soon make an answer late in the game. Things began to heat up at the 6:47 mark when Wells hit a pair of free throws that sparked a 20-7 run in the final minutes of the game. During the run, the Lady Rams were impressive at the free throw line with 15 of the WSSU points coming from the charity stripe.
With the win, the Lady Rams improve to 13-12 on the season and 8-7 in CIAA play. The team also moved into a third place tie with Saint Augustine's in the CIAA Southern Division with matching 4-5 division records. The Lady Rams will close out the regular season, Saturday when the team heads to nearby Salisbury, N.C. to take on the Livingstone Lady Blue Bears. 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.