FAYETTEVILLE, NC – The Winston-Salem State Lady Rams gave a great effort, but the effort was not enough as the team took a 75-65 loss at Fayetteville State, Saturday afternoon. For the third straight game, the Lady Rams trailed late and made a strong effort to come back, but the team fell short in the key Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Southern Division game.
The loss came in spite of a strong overall effort by the Lady Rams with the team shooting 39.3% from the field and 42.9% from the three-point line. However, the Lady Rams committed 25 turnovers and were outrebounded 57-33 in the game. WSSU junior forward Jovonah Graham led the way for the Lady Rams with 17 points and eight rebounds in the game while junior forward Dionna Scott added 12 points. The story of the game didn't turn out to be in the numbers, but rather the momentum with both teams mounting strong runs throughout the contest.
The first half of the game turned out to be a story of runs as both teams mounted strong overall efforts at both ends of the court. In the early going, the Lady Rams and Lady Broncos battled their way to a 12-12 tie near the midpoint of the half. Graham hit a lay-up at the 12:16 mark tied the game and set the stage for a dramatic remainder of the half. Fayetteville State would kick things off with a 15-2 run that left the Lady Rams trailing, 27-14 with 7:46 left in the half. The Lady Rams would struggle through an offensive drought as a lay-u; by freshman guard Morgan Smiley was the sole WSSU field goal during the span. After falling behind by as many as 19 points, (17-36) with 4:51 left in the half, the Lady Rams made their stand. The run began with a McKenzie Weston three-pointer at the 4:42 mark which sparked an 11-2 run by the Lady Rams that left the team trailing 38-28 at halftime.
The game of momentum carried over into the second half with both teams experiencing strong runs. In the early second half, it was the Lady Rams who jumped out and took control of the game. After falling behind by 10 points, 42-32 with 17:03 left to play, the Lady Rams erased their deficit with some strong defense and a clutch offensive effort. The Lady Rams went on an 18-5 run that not only erased their deficit, it also gave them their sole lead of the second half, 50-47 with 12:46 left to play. The run was sparked by a pair of back-to-back three-pointers from junior forward Raven Fields. It was freshman guard Morgan Smiley that hit a lay-up and free throw that put the Lady Rams on top, 49-47 with 13:16 left.
From there, the dreaded momentum swung to the other end of the court and stayed there when the team's foul troubles handcuffed the Lady Rams' comeback effort. After going ahead 50-47 on a free throw from senior forward Amanda Hairston, the Lady Rams saw their lead tied, 50-50 after three Fayetteville State free throws. The three free throws were a part of seven unanswered points by the Lady Broncos that left the Lady Rams trailing 54-50 with 10:36 left to play. After a pair of free throws from senior guard Jasmine Elum, the Lady Rams kept the Lady Rams within three points, 57-54 with 9:45 left, the Lady Rams allowed a 9-2 run by the Lady Broncos that left the Lady Rams trailing 66-56 with 5:46 left to play. A Scott three-pointer at the 5:16 mark which stopped the drought for the Lady Rams, was followed by a Graham jumper that pulled the team within five points, 66-61 with 3:38 left. However, the effort was all that the Lady Rams could manage as Fayetteville State closed out the game with a 9-4 run that included four clutch free throws to finish the game and gave the Lady Rams the 75-65 loss.
With the loss, the Lady Rams fall to 13-10 overall and 7-6 in CIAA play. The team also falls to 3-4 in the CIAA Southern Division. The team will return to action, Monday evening when the team hosts the Shaw Lady Bears in the Play4Kay Breast Cancer Awareness 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.