WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The short-handed Winston-Salem State Lady Rams () gave it all they had, but the team came up short in a hard-fought 68-64 loss to the Johnson C. Smith Lady Golden Bulls (), Thursday evening. In a game that saw momentum swing to both ends of the court, the Lady Rams struggled to their third straight Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) loss.
There was no shortage of effort by the Lady Rams as the team gave its all in the loss. As a team, the Lady Rams shot a respectable 36.8% from the floor and forced 19 Lady Golden Bulls turnovers. The two teams were dead even in rebounding at 44 each. However, the Lady Rams were hampered by 16 turnovers of their own and a two-for-17 effort (11.8%) from the three-point line. Individually, junior forward Jovanah Graham led the way for the Lady Rams with a double-double 14 points and 12 rebounds in the game. She led four WSSU players in double-digit scoring with senior forward Amanda Hairston adding 16 points and eight rebounds while fellow senior guard Jasmine Elum added 11 points. Junior forward Dionna Scott added 10 points with five rebounds.
The game was a hotly contested affair early with WSSU managing just a 12-8 lead following a pair of free throws by junior forward Raven Fields at the 15:31 mark. From there, the Lady Rams saw their lead disappear with four unanswered points by the Lady Golden Bulls to tie the game, 12-12 midway through the half. Things got tough for the Lady Rams down the stretch eof the half as Johnson C. Smith mounted a 7-0 run that left the Lady Rams trailing, 23-17 with 7:45 left in the half. The Lady Rams continued to struggle as they fell behind by as many as eight points, 31-23 with 2:34 left in the half. The team would keep the game close in the final minutes when a three-pointer by junior guard McKenzie Weston cut the WSSU deficit down to just five points and sent the team into halftime trailing, 35-30.
The second half saw an improved effort by the Lady Rams as the team cut their deficit down to just one point, 45-44 with 14:44 left after a Graham lay-up. The Lady Rams would go on to tie the game, 50-50 on a Scott jumper at the 10:11 mark and took their first lead of the half on a Fields jumper at the 7:51 mark. However, the Lady Rams could never pull away from the Lady Golden Bulls as a one-point lead was all that the team could muster. The final minutes of the game saw some great defense on both ends of the court as neither team managed a field goal for the final three minutes of play. A Graham lay-up at the 3:36 mark pulled the Lady Rams within one point, 64-63. However, the team would go scoreless for the remainder of the game. After falling behind, 67-64 with 2:34 left, a Fields three-pointer to tie the game with five seconds left fell just shy of the front rim for the Lady Rams while a JCSU free throw with four seconds left ended the scoring and sent the Lady Rams to the hard-fought loss.
The Lady Rams won't have long to linger, however, as the team will head to nearby Salisbury, N.C. to take on the Livingstone Lady Blue Bears, Saturday. 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.