CHARLOTTE, NC – The Winston-Salem State Lady Rams (11-16) exploded in the second half to take a 73-58 win over the Chowan Hawks (13-14) in the opening round of the 2015 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament.
After battling to a 27-27 first half tie, the Lady Rams outscored the Hawks 46-31 in the second half to take home the victory.
The Lady Rams utilized their depth to take the win with 14 of the team’s 15 players on the squad saw time on the floor.
“One of the things that we tried to do was to wear them down with our numbers,” WSSU head coach A.G. Hall said after the win. “We wanted to use our numbers to wear them down and take advantage and I think today we did that.”
The Lady Rams brought home the victory behind a great overall effort at both ends of the court. Offensively, the Lady Rams shot a scorching hot 46.0% from the floor while holding the Hawks to shooting just 36.0% from the floor with just 18 field goals made.
Leading the offensive explosion for the Lady Rams was junior guard Kesheria McNeil who scored a game-high 21 points. Senior forward Dionna Scott added a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in the win. Sophomore forward Jasmine Carter added 10 points as well.
The win was a key factor for the Lady Rams this season as they looked to erase the memory of an opening round loss which the team suffered last season. “You never want to go out the same way and after talking to [fellow seniors] Taylar [Wells], Jovanah [Graham], and Briana [Wilder] … we we’re not ready to give it up,” Scott said after the win. “We decided that we’re going to have to give it our all just to compete and to stay in it and that’s what we did today.”
The Lady Rams took control of the game in the first five minutes of play as they jumped out to a 12-0 lead and held the Hawks scoreless until the 15:28 mark.
However, the momentum swung to the other end of the court in a hurry with Chowan mounting an 11-0 run and cutting the WSSU lead down to just one point, 12-11 with 11:39 left in the first half. From there, the Lady Rams held off the hard-charging Hawks until just over eight minutes were left in the half and Chowan took its first lead of the game, 17-16 with 8:05 left.
From there, the two teams battled with neither team going ahead by more than two points for the remainder of the half.
After a Scott jumper with 1:48 left put the Lady Rams on top, 27-25, the Lady Rams allowed another Chowan score with 1:34 tied the game, 27-27. Neither team was able to score and finished the half with a tied score.
The second half turned out to be a much different story for the Lady Rams as they had one of their best halves when the outscored the Hawks 46-31.
For the first five minutes, the two teams battled with the Lady Rams holding a 35-33 lead with 16:34 left, but the team took control when they held Chowan without a field goal for the next four minutes of play and jumped ahead 45-37 with 13:25 left to play.
The Lady Rams managed to keep their cushion intact until the final five minutes of the game when they 56-48 after a Chowan three-pointer.
But from there, the Lady Rams exploded for 17 point in the final five minutes of the game and pushed their lead to as many as 16 points, 64-48 with 2:46 left to play. From there, the Lady Rams closed things out and ended the day with the 73-58 victory.
With the win, the Lady Rams improve to 11-16 and advance to the second round of the tournament and will face the top-seeded CIAA Southern Division champion Shaw Lady Bears.