WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (15-11, 11-6 CIAA) gave one of their best comeback efforts of the season, but the team came up just short in a heartbreaking 81-77 loss to the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls (15-12, 12-5 CIAA), Wednesday evening. After falling behind by as many as 18 points in the third quarter, the Rams made a valiant comeback, but the team could not pull out the win over the Golden Bulls.
The Rams had to overcome some offensive struggles to keep the game close and gave themselves a chance to win in the final minutes of play. As a team, the Rams shot just 38.2% (26-of-68) from their home floor, including shooting just 38.1% (eight-of-21) from the three-point line. The team was also plagued by turnovers with 23 in the loss. WSSU freshman guard Amaya Tucker led the way for the Rams with a team-high 20 points in the game. Sophomore guard Teara Johnson added 16 points. Junior forward Laichelle Sparrow added seven points with 10 rebounds.
It took a while for the Rams to get going as the team was held to just 15 first quarter points and 18 second quarter points. The team's sole lead came early in the quarter when a Tucker three-pointer put the Rams up, 5-4. However, the team would not regain the lead for the remainder of the game. After falling behind by as many as 11 points, the Rams ended the quarter trailing 24-15. The second quarter saw a better effort from the Rams as the team chipped away at their deficit, but the JCSU defense kept the Rams at bay. The Rams were able to cut their deficit down to as few as eight points after a lay-up from junior guard Jahlia Williams. However, the team allowed the Golden Bulls to pull away and took a 45-33 deficit into the locker room at halftime.
In the second half, the Rams gave a great comeback effort, but the team ran into some third quarter struggles before their rally began. Though the Rams held the Golden Bulls to just 16 third quarter points behind some tough physical play, the Rams were also stymied by the JCSU defense and scored just 16 points of their own to end the quarter trailing, 61-49. The fourth quarter was when all the action happened as the Rams battled their way back into the game. WSSU held its opponents without a field goal for over half of the final period, but still trailed, 74-64 with just over four minutes left. However, the Rams kicked things into gear in the final minutes with a seven-point run that included a Tucker three-pointer that pulled the Rams to within striking distance, 77-75 with 1:04 left to play. However, JCSU would hit four clutch free throws in the final minute while the Rams could manage just two free throws of their own to take the hard-fought loss.
With the loss, the Rams fall to 15-11 overall and 11-6 in CIAA play. The team also falls to 8-3 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Southern Division play and into a tie for second place in the division. The Rams will close out the 2018=19 regular season, Saturday, when they take head to Salisbury, N.C. to take on the Livingstone College Blue Bears. 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.