CHARLOTTE, NC – The Winston-Salem State Lady Rams (18-10) gave all the effort they had in a heartbreaking 75-70 loss to the Johnson C. Smith Lady Golden Bulls (21-5), Wednesday evening. The loss came after a heroic effort by the Lady Rams who fought for all 40 minutes of the contest and left it all out on the floor in the hard-fought loss.
"First all, hats off to a great ball club and a great program in Johnson C. Smith. But, we came in here with a great game plan and I think we did a real good job of executing our game plan," WSSU women's basketball head coach Stephen Joyner, Jr. said. "But if you look at the boxscore, we won every category, except at the free throw line and that's a tough one for our kids to take home."
The Lady Rams gave a great effort in the game, shooting 42.2% from the floor and tying the Lady Golden Bulls in rebounds at 41. However, the Lady Rams were saddled with foul troubles in the game, sending their opponents to the free throw line for 29 attempts while making their way to the free throw line for just 12 attempts.
"Anytime you go to the free throw line 12 times and the other team goes 29 times, more than doubling what you do, and you still have a chance to win the ballgame," Joyner, Jr. added. "I don't think there's anything that can be taken away from what my kids did tonight."
The game was a battle early with a hard-fought first half that saw the momentum switch from one end of the court to the other for the entire half. The tough battle began early with a three-pointer by junior guard Jasmine Newkirk put the Lady Rams on top, 9-8 with 15:42 left in the half. However, Johnson C. Smith would answer the run with back-to-back scores to put the Lady Rams into a 13-9 deficit. The Lady Rams went into a bit of a slump with Johnson C. Smith pushing its lead to six points, but the team soon answered the call, cutting their deficit down to just two points as a lay-up by senior guard Taneisha White capped a WSSU run that tied the game, 19-19 with 8:27 left in the first half. However, back-to-back three-pointers by the Lady Golden Bulls put the team back into a deficit with just under six minutes left in the half. Down the stretch of the half, the Lady Rams connected on a pair of back-to-back three pointers to regain the lead, 30-29 with 2:33 left in the first half. It was the tandem of former North Carolina Central players, Jasmine Newkirk and LaQuanda Williams that gave the team the lead. However, the Lady Rams ran into a serious problem when Newkirk suffered an ankle injury at the 2:03 mark. In the final minute, The Lady Rams would struggle, taking a 35-32 deficit into the locker room at halftime.
The Lady Rams began the second half on a bit of a down note with some early fouls and missing Newkirk. However, the team was able to keep the game within reach and cutting their deficit down to one point, 37-36 with 18:07 left to play. However, Johnson C. Smith would begin to pull away with an 8-3 run that was made worse by an injury to WSSU junior forward LaQuanda Williams. The Lady Rams headed into the final 15:58 trailing 45-37. Though the team was struggling, the Lady Rams never lost their fight as the team made its stand midway through the half. A jumper by senior forward Jordhan Peterson pulled the Lady Rams within four, followed by a lay-up by Medley that cut the WSSU deficit down to just two points, 51-49 with 10:15 left to play. However, Johnson C. Smith would answer as they pushed the WSSU deficit back to six points with just over eight minutes left to play. The hard-fought battle began to show as the Lady Golden Bulls wore the Lady Rams down to a 10-point deficit 61-51 with just over seven minutes left to play.
In a last ditch effort, the Lady Rams employed a press to stem the tide of the Lady Golden Bulls' late run. The team was able to whittle their deficit down to just four points, 65-61 with 2:48 left to play after a pair of free throws by junior forward LaQuanda Williams. A Medley three-pointer at the 2:17 mark would pull the Lady Rams within three points, 67-64.
The Lady Rams would head into the final minute of the game with a huge momentum changer when Medley connected on a three-pointer from two feet behind the three-point line with 00:54 left to pull the team within three points, 71-68. However, some clutch free throws by the Lady Golden Bulls would seal the WSSU loss.
With the loss, the Lady Rams fall to 18-10 for the season. 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.