CHARLOTTE, NC – The Winston-Salem State Lady Rams (15-12) suffered heartbreak and disappointment, Tuesday afternoon when the team took a gut-wrenching 64-62 upset loss to Lincoln (Pa.) Lady Lions (12-15). After taking a 52-40 lead with just under 10 minutes left to play, the Lady Rams were outscored 24-10 in the final nine minutes of the game and missed some critical free throws in the final seconds to end the game with the heartbreaking loss.
"It was a tale of two halves," WSSU women's basketball head coach A.G. Hall said following the tough loss. "I thought we played some pretty good defense in the first half and in the second half, we allowed some easy baskets and that proved to be the difference in the game."
The Lady Rams were outscored 37-25 in the second half after holding Lincoln (Pa.) to just 27 first half points. It was in the final 10 minutes of the half when the Lady Rams' struggles proved most costly as the team managed just four field goals in the final 10 minutes of the game. The Lady Rams also missed some costly free throws during the stretch with the team hitting just four-of-nine free throws in the final 10 minutes of the game, including missing four in the final 11 seconds.
The loss came in spite of a solid overall effort for the Lady Rams as the team held Lincoln (Pa.) to shooting just 34.9% from the field and just 20.0% from the three-point line. However, the Lady Rams could not capitalize as the team shot just 31.1% from the floor and just 10% from the three-point line. The team also struggled at the free throw line, shooting just 63.9% from the free throw line. WSSU junior forward Dionna Scott led the way for the Lady Rams with a game-high 19 points in the game. Senior guard Jasmine Elum added 16 points. Senior forward Amanda Hairston pulled in a game-high nine rebounds as well.
The Lady Rams controlled most of the game as the team had a dominant first half effort. The team opened the game with a 16-6 run over the first five minutes of the play that included allowing just one Lincoln (Pa.) field goal during the span. The Lady Rams soon found themselves challenged when Lincoln (Pa.) went on an 11-1 run to tie the game, 17-17 with 10:25 left to play. The run proved to be a bad omen for the Lady Rams who were held without a field goal for nearly five minutes. Though challenged, the Lady Rams answered the call when junior guard McKenzie Weston nailed a three-pointer at the 8:59 mark that gave the Lady Rams a 22-19 lead. The shot was the team's sole three-pointer of the game. Lincoln (Pa.) would not go away, but the Lady Rams were able to stay on top when a pair of free throws from freshman guard Taelor Mandeville put the Lady Rams ahead 28-22 with 5:12 left in the half. The team would go on to push its lead to 10 points at the half, 37-37.
In the early second half, the Lady Rams continued to cruise as they pushed their lead to as many as 16 points, 45-29 following a Scott lay-up and free throw with 16:00 left. Though Lincoln (Pa.) continued to chip away at the WSSU lead, the Lady Rams stayed ahead of the Lady Lions until the midway point of the half. It was a pair of Scott free throws at the 9:26 mark that left the Lady Rams leading, 52-40 with 9:26 left to play. From there, the Lady Rams' struggles began as the team fell silent, offensively. A pair of jumpers from junior forward Raven Fields were the only field goals of the final 10 minutes for the Lady Rams. The Lady Rams stayed in control of the game until the final minute when Lincoln (Pa.) hit a pair of free throws to take the 63-62 lead. From there, the Lady Rams allowed one more free throw to the Lady Lions, but the team could not capitalize on a pair of trips to the free throw line with four straight misses in the final 15 seconds of the game and ended the day with the loss.
With the loss, the Lady Rams finish the season with a 15-12 record. 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.