PIKEVILLE, NC – The short-handed Winston-Salem State Lady Rams (11-8, 5-4 CIAA) gave it their all, but the effort fell just short in a tough 62-59 loss to the Fayetteville State Lady Broncos (14-4, 7-2 CIAA), Saturday evening at Charles B. Aycock High School in Pikeville, North Carolina. The Lady Rams gave a valiant effort in front of a packed house, but could not pull out the win as the team suffered back-to-back losses for just the second time this season.
The loss did not come from a lack of effort as the Lady Rams gave it their all on both ends of the court, but with season-ending injuries to three key players, the team just could not keep up with the Lady Broncos. As a team, the Lady Rams gave a solid overall effort, shooting 38.9% from the floor and holding Fayetteville State to shooting just 37.9% from the floor. The team also forced 23 Lady Bronco turnovers in the game as well. Winston-Salem State senior guard Jasmine Elum led the way for the Lady Rams with 23 points while junior forward Jovonah Graham added 16 points with eight rebounds in the game. Senior forward Amanda Hairston added nine points as well.
The Lady Rams opened the game with a great defensive effort, holding the Lady Broncos scoreless for the first six minutes of the game. The team could not capitalize however as a 5-0 lead was all that they could muster. The Lady Rams remained in control of the game through the midway point of the half as a lay-up by freshman guard Morgan Smiley at the 9:16 mark left the Lady Rams ahead 13-7. However, the effort would fade with Fayetteville State taking the lead after an 8-1 run. However, Elum would answer with a three-pointer at the 6:56 mark that put the Lady Rams back in control, 17-15 with 6:56 left in the half. The shot was a part of five unanswered points by the Lady Rams as Graham added a pair of free throws to give WSSU a 19-15 lead with 6:22 left in the half. From there, the two teams battled their way to halftime with neither team going ahead by more than three points. In the end, the Lady Rams took a 29-27 deficit into the locker room at halftime.
The second half saw another classic battle by the two teams. After opening the half with an Elum three-pointer, the Lady Rams regained their lead, but the lead did not last long with FSU scoring nine unanswered points to leave the Lady Rams trailing 38-31 with 16:21 left. After falling behind by as many as 11 points with 14:16 left, the Lady Rams kicked things into gear and would not relent as they cut their deficit down to just two points, 51-49 when a lay-up by junior forward Dionna Scott capped a 14-5 WSSU run. Though the Lady Rams would later go down by as many as eight points, the effort sparked the team as they clawed their way back after every challenge. Heading into the final minute of play, the Lady Rams trailed the Lady Broncos, 61-56, but another Elum three-pointer pulled the team within two points. However, Fayetteville State took advantage of some WSSU foul troubles with three free throws in the final minute of play to send the Lady Rams to the 62-59 loss.
With the loss, the Lady Rams fall to 11-8 overall and 5-4 in CIAA play, including 1-2 in the CIAA Southern Division. The team will look to bounce back Wednesday when they return home to host the Johnson C. Smith Lady Golden Bulls in a 5:30 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.