WEST VIRGINIA, WVA – The Winston-Salem State Rams (3-2) gave a strong effort, but the team fell short in a 79-69 road loss to the West Liberty State Hilltoppers (3-1), Wednesday evening. The Rams looked strong in the first half, but the team allowed a big second half to the Hilltoppers that proved to be the difference in the game.
The Rams took the loss in spite of some solid overall play. As a team, the Rams shot a solid 40.8% (31-of-76) in the game. The team was impressive on the boards as they outrebounded the Hilltoppers with 44 rebounds in the game. WSSU was led by senior forward Brandi Segars who scored 20 points in the game. Senior guard Jahlia Williams added 18 points while junior guard Melody Prichard came off the bench for 14 points.
The Rams controlled much of the first half in the game. The first quarter was especially impressive for the Rams as they held the Hilltoppers to just 11 points. The effort allowed the Rams to take a 17-11 lead at the beginning of the quarter. The Rams took control of the quarter early and never allowed the Hilltoppers to claim a lead. The Rams allowed the game to be tied 6-6, but the Rams never gave up their lead for the entire quarter.
In the second quarter, the Rams kept up their strong play, but the team allowed a late rally by the Hilltoppers. Things looked good early as the Rams took their largest lead of the game, 24-16 after a free throw from junior guard Teara Johnson. However, the Rams ran into some struggles with the Hilltoppers staging a late comeback effort. The Rams held the Hilltoppers at bay until the final seconds of the quarter. WSSU held a 32-31 lead over the Hilltoppers until the final five seconds of the quarter when a WSSU foul led to a pair of Hilltopper free throws that left the Rams trailing, 33-32 at the half.
The third quarter told a much different story, however. The Rams had a tough time getting going in the third quarter while the Hilltoppers broke out early. The Rams were held to just one field goal in the first four minutes of the quarter en route to being outscored 29-20 in the quarter. At the end of the quarter, the Rams trailed the Hilltoppers, 62-52.
In the fourth quarter, the Rams turned on their defensive effort as they held the Hilltoppers to just 17 points, but the Rams could not quite get their offense to get going when they were held to just 17 points as well. In the end, the Rams ende the game with the 79-69 loss.
With the loss, the Rams fall to 3-2 to open the season. The Rams will return to action, Saturday, when the team opens Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play against the Bowie State Bulldogs in a 2:00 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.