WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (1-3) could not quite seem to get things together when the team took a hard-fought 82-77 loss to the Central State Marauders (2-2) on day one of the Red & White Classic. The game turned out to be a see-saw effort for the Rams with the team showing signs of great potential, but foul troubles and turnovers in critical moments proved costly in the hard-fought loss.
On paper, the Rams had an impressive performance, but the team came up short in critical moments through the game. As a team, the Rams shot a solid 41.1% (30-of-73) from the floor while holding the Marauders to shooting just 36.8% (28-of-76) from the floor. The Rams were especially impressive from long range, connecting on eight three pointers in the game. WSSU senior guard Tiana Edwards led the way for the Rams with a game-high 19 points while junior forward Brionna Pate added 18 points. Senior center Kandace Tate nearly recorded a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Things looked good early for the Rams. The team jumped ahead early as an Edwards three-pointer with 5:56 left in the first quarter left the Rams on top, 16-6, their largest lead of the game. The Rams were not able to pull away from the Marauders as the WSSU lead was cut down to just three points, 20-17 with 3:04 left in the quarter, but the Rams would not let up as they finished the half with a 25-17 lead.
The second quarter told a different story for the Rams as Central State controlled the period. It took the Rams nearly two minutes to score in the second quarter as the Marauders erased the WSSU deficit and tied the game, 25-25 with 8:21 left. The Rams would remain in control of the game as Edwards and sophomore forward Taniya Dunn connected on back-to-back three-pointers to leave the Rams on top, 34-27 with 5:21 left in the half. It was then that the Rams went into an offensive drought as they would not record a field goal until the 1:02 mark and their lead was reduced to just one point, 37-36 after a jumper from sophomore guard Taylor Daniels. The final minute belonged to the Marauders as they hit a lay-up in the final seconds to leave the Rams trailing, 39-37 at halftime.
The WSSU struggles carried over into the second half with the team struggling through much of the third quarter. In the early going, things looked good for the Rams as the team tied the game, 45-45 after a Pate lay-up. A Daniels lay-up with 6:38 left the Rams on top, 47-45 with 6:38 left in the quarter. In the final minutes, Central State pulled away from the Rams and left WSSU trailing, 66-54.
Though down, the Rams made a furious fourth quarter comeback to make things interesting, but some late struggles cost the Rams the game. The Rams fell into their largest deficit of the game, 72-56 with 8:10 left in the game. In the final minutes, the Rams went on a stunning comeback effort, cutting their deficit down to just two points, 79-77 with 00:57 left to play. However, the team could not quite manage to score with a pair of missed three-pointers being all the team could manage in the final minute and ended the day with the tough 82-77 loss.
With the loss, the Rams fall to 1-3 overall. The team will return to action, tomorrow when the team hosts the Benedict Tigers in a 4:00 p.m. game at the C.E. Gaines Center on the campus of Winston-Salem State University. 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.