WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State University Lady Rams (11-6, 5-2 CIAA) opened Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Southern Division play in style when the team took a 62-52 win over the Saint Augustine's University Lady Falcons (9-6, 4-2 CIAA), Saturday at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the inaugural MLK Classic. After a tough first half battle, the Lady Rams ended the game in style with a big second half effort to take the win.
The Lady Rams shot a scorching hot 50.0% from the floor, including scoring 38 of the team's 62 points in the paint. The WSSU trio of senior forward Amanda Hairston, senior guard Jasmine Elum, and junior forward Jovonah Graham led the team to the victory. Hairston and Elum scored 16 points each to lead the way for the Lady Rams while Graham added 15 points. Both Hairston and Graham recorded nine rebounds each in the game as well.
The first half was a battle for both teams as the Lady Rams and Lady Falcons battled to a 29-29 tie at the break. The half began on a high note for the Lady Rams, who jumped out to an early 5-1 lead through the 17:25 mark. The Lady Rams would remain in control of the contest through the midway point of the half as a Hairston lay-up at the 9:42 mark left the Lady Rams ahead 16-8, the team's largest lead of the half. It was down the stretch that things got tough for the Lady Rams as the team recorded just one field goal in the final four minutes of play while Saint Augustine's went on a 10-2 run during the span to tie the game, 29-29. The effort erased a 27-19 lead that the Lady Rams held at the 4:22 mark.
The tough battle would carry over into the second half where the Lady Rams used a late surge to claw their way to the victory. Things got tough early as Saint Augustine's mounted its first lead of the game at the 17:13 mark on a jumper. From there, the two teams would battle back and forth as neither team managed to go ahead by more than a point for the next nine minutes of play. It was at the 7:17 mark that the Lady Rams would turn things on and take home the victory. After going down by three points, 46-43, the Lady Rams took control of the game with 12 straight points to build a 55-46 lead. The run included a pair of back-to-back three pointers by Elum and junior forward Raven Fields. From there, the Lady Rams would answer every challenge made by the Lady Falcons as WSSU never allowed their opponents to get any closer than seven points for the remainder of the game and held on for the hard-fought victory.
With the win, the Lady Rams improve to 11-6 overall and 5-2 in CIAA play. The team will return to the road for their next action when they head to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on the Shaw Lady Bears. 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.