INSTITUTE, WVA – The Winston-Salem State Rams (5-6) held off a furious fourth quarter rally to take a 76-74 road win over the West Virginia State Yellowjackets (3-8), Monday afternoon. After taking an 11-point win into the fourth quarter, the Rams held off the Yellowjackets to take a key region win on New Year's Eve.
The Rams took the win behind a balanced attack with three players reaching double-digit scoring in the game. As a team, the Rams' break showed as the team shot just 38.8% (31-of-80) from the floor in the game. WSSU freshman guard Amaya Tucker led the way for the Rams with 16 points and nine rebounds. Senior forward Brionna Pate added 14 points and eight rebounds while sophomore guard Teara Johnson added 13 points and eight rebounds.
Winston-Salem State controlled the game from the very beginning, but the team had to work hard to keep it. The Rams got things started with a great first quarter as they outscored the Yellowjackets, 24-18. The Rams' first big run came early in the quarter when a Pate lay-up with 7:57 left sparked a seven-point run by the Rams that left the team on top, 12-5. The Rams expanded their lead in the final minute with four unanswered points to take a 24-18 lead at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter was much more competitive as the Yellowjackets attempted to come back, but the Rams would never give up their lead. The Rams allowed the Yellowjackets to get to within three points, but the Rams would never allow their lead to slip away. After allowing a WVSU three-pointer with 4:07 left in the second quarter and allowing Yellowjackets to within three points, 34-31, the Rams answered with a 5-2 run to close the quarter and took a 39-33 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Once in control, the Rams never looked back as they pushed their lead with a strong third quarter. During the quarter, the Rams outscored the Yellowjackets 20-15. Things weren't all easy for the Rams as the Yellowjackets once again cut the WSSU lead down to three points, 43-40 with 6:17 left in the quarter, but the Rams once again had an answer. A Pate jumper with 2:59 left in the quarter capped a 10-4 run by the Rams and kept the team on top, 53-44. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Rams continued to strong play as a Johnson jumper with 00:28 left in the third quarter gave the Rams a 59-48 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was a much different effort as the Rams had to hold off a furious comeback from the Yellowjackets. Things looked good early for the Rams as a lay-up from junior guard Taylor Daniels gave the Rams their largest lead of the game, 67-55 with 6:52 left in the game. It was then that things got tough for the Rams when West Virginia State began their comeback. In the last half of the fourth quarter, the Rams were outscored 15-8, but the team would never allow their win to get away. The Rams' lead was cut down to just two points, 74-72 with just 00:20 left to play before Tucker hit a pair of clutch free throws with 00:13 left to play that kept the Rams on top, 76-72 to put the game away. From there, the Rams clamped down on defense, allowing just two free throws to the Yellowjackets to claim the win.
With the win, the Rams improve to 5-6 overall. The team will return to action, Friday when they host the Claflin Panthers in a 5:30 p.m. game. 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.