WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Lady Rams (7-4, 1-0 CIAA) opened Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play in style when the team took an 80-65 win over the Virginia Union Lady Panthers (3-6, 0-1 CIAA), Thursday evening. The Lady Rams looked to their strong play in the paint to key the win over a tenacious Lady Panthers team that pushed WSSU for all 40 minutes of the game.
As a team, the Lady Rams had some ups and downs in the game as the team held the Lady Panthers to shooting just 16.7% from the three-point line, but the team was plagued by 27 turnovers in the game. The Lady Rams countered the turnovers with a stellar rebounding effort with WSSU holding a 53-24 rebounding edge in the game. WSSU senior forward Amanda Hairston led the way for the Lady Rams with a double-double 10 points and 11 rebounds. Junior forward Somalia McKenney led the WSSU rebounding effort with a career-high 13 rebounds in the game. Senior guard Jasmine Elum led the Lady Rams' scoring efforts with a game-high 18 points in the game. The Lady Rams also benefitted from some great guard play with junior guard McKenzie Weston recorded 13 points with a career-high eight assists in the game.
The Lady Rams took control of the game early and never looked back. The Lady Rams took a 5-4 lead on a lay-up by junior guard Briana Wilder at the 14:27 mark and never gave it back. The Lady Rams saw their lead grow to five points before the Lady Panthers cut the WSSU lead down to just one point, 11-10 with 8:32 left. The team responded in a major way, scoring 11 unanswered points to go ahead, 22-10 with 5:39 left to play. The final minutes of the half saw the Lady Rams continue their onslaught and pushed their lead to as many as 18 points, 35-17 with 1:55 left in the first half. The Lady Panthers mounted a comeback and cut the WSSU lead down to 13 points, 36-23 at the half.
The second half saw the Lady Rams continue to dominate the game as the team pushed its lead to as many as 20 points. At the 12:41 mark, a pair of Scott free throws capped a 17-10 opening effort by the Lady Rams that left the team on top, 53-33. The Lady Panthers would make an effort to cut into the WSSU lead as they went on a 10-3 run and cut the WSSU lead down to 13 points, 56-43 with 8:41 left to play. The run marked the final challenge that the Lady Rams faced as the team held off the Lady Panthers to close out the 80-65 win.
With the win the Lady Rams improve to 7-4 on the season and 1-0 in CIAA play. The team will return to action, Saturday when they host the Lincoln (Pa.) Lions in a 5:00 p.m. game. 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.