FAYETTEVILLE, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (10-8, 6-3 CIAA) had a costly late scoring drought to take a 56-51 road loss to the Fayetteville State Broncos (11-7, 6-4 CIAA), Saturday, afternoon. After holding a 48-44 lead late in the game, the Rams were outscored 12-3 in the final minutes of play to take their first Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Southern Division loss.
The Rams played some stellar defense in the game, but not enough to overcome offensive struggles throughout the game. As a team, the Rams had their second worst shooting effort of the season at 27.9% (17-of-61) from the floor. The team compounded their problems with 24 turnovers. Defensively, the Rams were impressive, however, as they held the Broncos to shooting just 32.8% (20-of-61) from their home floor. WSSU senior forward Brionna Pate led the way for the Rams with a double-double 16 points and 16 rebounds in the game. Junior forward Laichelle Sparrow added a career-high 14 points with eight rebounds as well.
In the early going things were tough for the Rams as the team struggled to get points in the first quarter, but they soon got things going with a big second quarter effort. After a pair of free throws from freshman guard Hailey Gipson gave the Rams a 2-0 lead in the early minutes, the Rams struggled to make baskets until a Sparrow lay-up with 4:08 left in the first quarter left the Rams trailing, 8-4. From there, the Rams soon found their scoring edge, but so did the Broncos as WSSU ended the quarter trailing, 18-10. While the Rams may have struggled in the first quarter, the team dominated the second quarter as they allowed just one FSU field goal and outscored the Broncos 14-2 during the quarter. With the effort, the Rams took a 24-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The second half told a much different story for the Rams as the team's solid third quarter effort was overtaken by a late fourth quarter meltdown. The Rams outscored the Broncos, 15-14 in the third quarter and held on to their lead. WSSU had its best offensive stretch of the game when a three-pointer from freshman guard Amaya Tucker with 6:03 left in the third quarter capped a 10-2 Rams run and gave the team a 34-22 lead, its largest of the game. It was then that things got tougher for the Rams as the team allowed a 13-4 run by the Broncos and took a 38-35 lead into the fourth quarter. The Rams didn't make things easier for the Broncos as they held on to their lead, 48-44, after a 10-9 WSSU run with 4:42 left to play. It was then that things got tough for the Rams who allowed the Broncos to go on a late 12-3 run in the final minutes to take the loss. The Rams were held to a Pate free throw and a Sparrow lay-up during the drought. The drought cost the team the win as they finished the game with the 56-51 loss.
With the loss, the Rams fall to 10-8 overall and 6-3 in CIAA play. The team also falls to 3-1 in CIAA Southern Division play after holding first place heading into the game. The Rams will return to action, Wednesday evening when they head to Charlotte, N.C. to take on the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls. 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.