WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (6-6, 2-1 CIAA) had their best defensive performance of the season when the team took an 81-56 win over the Claflin Panthers (7-8, 5-4 CIAA), Friday evening. The Rams took the win behind their best defensive performance of the season as they allowed a season-low 56 points in the game.
The Rams accompanied their great defensive effort with a strong offensive performance. As a team, the Rams shot a scorching hot 50.8% (30-of-59) from the floor while holding the Panthers to shooting just 29.4% (20-of-68) from the floor. The Rams took the win by another great balanced effort. WSSU senior forward Brionna Pate led the effort for the Rams with a double-double 18 points and 15 rebounds. Freshman guard Amaya Tucker continued her terrific season with 15 points while sophomore guard Nyona Shields added 12 points off the bench.
The Rams got a slow start to the game early, but the team soon heated up to pull away for the win. In the early going, it was the Panthers in control as the Rams allowed them to take a 12-7 lead early in the first quarter, but the Rams soon answered in a big way. The team went on a seven-point run that was capped by a three-pointer from freshman guard Teara Johnson that left the Rams on top, 14-12 with 1:42 left in the first quarter. The Rams allowed a Claflin lay-up in the final seconds of the quarter to take a 14-14 tie at the end of the first quarter. It was in the second quarter that the Rams really took things over as they held the Panthers to just two points in the quarter and outscored them, 19-2 to take a 33-16 lead at the end of the first half.
In the second half, the Rams continued to dominate, but the team had to fend off a hard-charging attack by the Panthers. The Rams pushed their lead to as many as 26 points after a Pate lay-up with 5:02 left in the third quarter. The Rams maintained their 20-point cushion for the remainder of the game. The largest lead of the quarter came after another Pate lay-up with 1:03 left in the quarter to go ahead, 59-32. The Rams allowed five unanswered points to the Panthers to take a 59-37 lead into the fourth quarter. In the early fourth quarter, Claflin made a strong effort to get back into the game, but the Rams would not let their lead slip away. The Panthers would cut the WSSU lead down to 20 points, 59-39 before the Rams surged ahead once again. The team went on a 13-6 run that was capped by a Johnson free throw to keep the Rams on top, 72-45 with 4:14 left to play. From there, the Rams never let up. A lay-up from freshman Kinnidy Lawrence with 2:56 left to play gave the Rams their largest lead of the game, 76-48. From there, the Rams continued to roll and pulled away for the 81-56 win.
With the win, the Rams improve to 6-6 overall and 2-1 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play. The team will return to action, Thursday when the team returns to action when they host the Virginia State Trojans. 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.