WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (7-6. 3-1 CIAA) used a strong defensive effort and a big second half offensive attack to claim a 69-49 win over the Virginia State Trojans (7-5, 1-2 CIAA), Thursday evening. The Rams took the hard-fought win over the Trojans behind some strong individual scoring efforts and a strong team defensive effort.
The Rams had a stellar overall performance that was highlighted by some breakout offensive performances. As a team, the Rams shot an impressive 41.7% (25-of-60) from the floor while holding the Trojans to shooting just 32.7% (18-of-55) from the floor. WSSU freshman guard Amaya Tucker led the way for the Rams with a career-high 20 points in the game. Sophomore guard Nyona Shields came off the bench for 17 points.
The game was a close one early with both teams looking to get a lead early in the game. The Rams looked good early when the jumped out to a 7-2 lead after a Tucker three-pointer with 6:00 left in the first quarter. After holding on to their lead, 12-6, the Rams allowed the Trojans to claim the lead 13-12 with just over a minute left in the first quarter. At the end of the quarter, the Rams trailed the Trojans, 15-14.
The second quarter belonged to the Rams. The Rams reclaimed their lead after a pair of Shields free throws with 7:32 left in the second quarter that left the team on top, 18-17. The Rams allowed the Trojans to tie the game, 20-20, but the team would never let go of the lead. The Rams went ahead by as many as nine points in the first half, 29-20 with 2:39 left in the second quarter. The Rams allowed the Trojans to cut the WSSU lead down to just two points, 29-27. A Trojan missed three-pointer gave the Rams a 29-27 halftime lead.
It was in the third quarter that the Rams truly began to take control of the game. Things weren't all great as the Rams allowed the Trojans to retake the lead, 33-31 with 7:34 left in the third quarter, but the team broke out in a big way with an 18-3 run that was capped by a Shields jumper with 1:06 left to play and gave the Rams a 49-36 lead over the Trojans. A VSU three-pointer was all that either team could muster in the final minutes of the quarter and left the Rams with a 49-39 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Once in control, the Rams never looked back. The Rams held a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game and pulled away from the Trojans. The Rams went ahead by as many as 19 points, 62-43 after a lay-up from sophomore guard Teara Johnson. The Rams capped the game in style when a Johnson lay-up with 00:40 left capped the Rams' 69-49 win.
With the win, the Rams improve to 7-6 overall and 3-1 in CIAA play. The team will return to action, Saturday when they host the Chowan Lady Hawks. 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.