CHARLOTTE, NC – The third-seeded Winston-Salem State Rams (14-12) got the 2018 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Women's Basketball Championship Tournament underway with a dominating 87-67 win over the sixth-seeded Elizabeth City Vikings (9-20), Tuesday afternoon. The Rams took the win behind a dominating interior performance by the team's senior front court.
Though the Rams' domination on the interior stood out, it did not overshadow a great overall effort from the Rams. The team shot a scorching hot 50.0% (36-of-72) from the floor while also committing just 12 turnovers in the game. The team's 24 assists were the second most of the season for the Rams who recorded 29 assists in a win over West Virginia State on New Year's Eve. Four Rams reached double-digit scoring in the game with senior center Kandace Tate leading the way with a double-double 24 points and 12 rebounds. Senior forward Briana Arnold added 16 points with nine rebounds while senior guard Tiana Edwards added 15 points. Freshman guard Teara Johnson added 13 points.
The Rams jumped out to a big lead early and never looked back against the Vikings. The Rams and Vikings both got off to a sluggish start to the game, but the points soon came in a hurry. An Arnold jumper with 8:23 left in the first quarter broke the scoring seal for the game before the Rams went on a late run that left the team on top, 21-9 after a jumper by freshman guard Nyona Shields with 1:42 left to play. The score capped a 6-2 run for the Rams.
The second quarter turned out to be a different story as Elizabeth City State outscored the Rams 21-19. The Rams were able to hold off the Vikings in the second quarter, but it was not easy as the Rams saw their lead whittled down to just four points, 29-25 with 3:07 left in the second quarter. The Rams would go on to close out the half in style with a 6-2 run that was capped by a pair of Johnson free throws with 00:08 left in the half and sent the team into the locker room at halftime.
The third quarter was another close battle as the Rams fought to keep the Vikings at bay. Once again, the Rams outscored the Vikings by just one point, 20-19 to stay on top. Elizabeth City State came out with a great early effort, cutting the Rams' lead down to just four points, 47-43 with 6:18 left in the quarter. The Rams answered the challenge in a big way as they outscored the 13-7 in the final minutes of the quarter. A Shields tip-in with 00:51 left in the quarter gave the Rams a 60-51 lead heading into the final quarter of the game.
Once in control, the Rams never looked back as the team broke out for a 27-16 advantage over the Vikings. It was midway through the quarter that the Rams really took control of the game with an 11-1 run that put the team ahead, 77-59 after a jumper from Arnold with 4:08 left to play. The Rams pushed their lead to as many as 21 points, 86-65 after another Arnold jumper with 1:11 left to play. From there, the Rams allowed just one more field goal to the Vikings before a Tate free throw sealed the 87-67 victory.
With the win, the Rams improve to 14-12 and advance to the quarterfinal round of the 2018 CIAA Women's Basketball Championship Tournament. The third-seeded Rams will take on the second-seeded Virginia State Trojans in a 1:00 p.m. game at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C.
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.