WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (3-5) got their second straight win when the team took an 81-69 win over the USC-Aiken Pacers (5-3). The Rams utilized a blazing fourth quarter to take the win.
The Rams took the win behind a great effort at both ends of the court. The team's high-pressure defense along with its up-tempo offense proved to be too much for the Pacers to keep up with. As a team, the Rams shot a solid 38.7% (24-of-62) from the floor, including a scorching hot second half with 53.6% (15-of-28) in the second half. The team also shot an impressive 82.4% (28-of-34) from the free throw line as well. WSSU sophomore guard Teara Johnson led the way for the Rams with a career-high 33 points in the game with two rebounds. She went 15-for-16 from the free throw line. Freshman guard Amaya Tucker added 19 points with five rebounds and a steal.
The Rams struggled early in each quarter of the first half, but the team had late comeback efforts in each quarter to take a lead at the end of the first half. In the first quarter, both teams struggled early with the Rams and the Pacers combining for just 15 points in the first four minutes of the play. A jumper from Johnson left the Rams trailing, 7-8 with 4:06 left in the first quarter. The two teams soon kicked things into gear when a Johnson three-point play with 3:31 left gave the Rams their first lead of the game, 9-8 with 3:31 left in the first quarter. The Rams went ahead 17-13 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Rams pushed their lead to as many as seven points, 25-18 after a lay-up from sophomore forward Laichelle Sparrow with 3:43 left in the second quarter. Things soon got tougher for the Rams as the team allowed the Pacers to tie the game, 25-25 with 2:33 left in the second quarter. However, a Johnson three-pointer with just two seconds left in the second quarter left the Rams on top, 28-27 at the end of the first half.
There was less drama in the second half as the Rams overcame some early struggles in the second quarter to go on to claim the win. The Rams could not find a way to keep up with the Pacers through much of the third quarter. The Rams found themselves trailing, 48-41 with 2:35 left in the third quarter. It was then that the Rams began their comeback effort. The team ended the third quarter with a three-point play from freshman guard Hailey Gipson with three seconds left that kept the Rams trailing, 52-49 at the end of the third quarter. It was in the fourth quarter when the Rams took things over as they held the Pacers to just 17 points while scoring 32 points. The Rams opened the fourth quarter with a 17-7 run as a lay-up from Sparrow gave the Rams a 59-58 lead that the team would never let get go of. The team pus their lead to six points, 70-64 with 1:13 left to play. The play was the one that put the game away for the Rams as the team hit 10-of-11 free throws in the final minute, including eight from Johnson in the final minute to claim the win.
With the win the Rams improve to 3-5 on the season. The team will hit the road for their next action as they open Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play at #8 Virginia Union. For more information on Rams women's basketball, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.