Southern Division fifth-seed Winston-Salem State used a late fourth quarter rally to take a 50-44 win over the Northern Division fourth seed and defending CIAA Champion Virginia State in the first round of the 2016 CIAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena Tuesday.

Winston-Salem State (12-15) had balanced scoring in the win with sophomore forward Briana Arnold leading the way with 12 points and eight rebounds.

Senior teammate Awa Kalmstrom chipped in nine points while Taelor Mandeville and Jatzmin Johnson each had eight points.

The Rams shot 33.3% from the field (16-48) and managed just 20% from long range, but none was bigger than Johnson’s long ball from the corner with 35.7 seconds left.[easyazon_infoblock align=”right” identifier=”B00EZSHX4O” locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]

Virginia State (12-15) was led by Wynterra Pittman’s 13 points. Donae’ Moguel had nine points while Nandi Taylor contributed eight points.

Joy Hickman and Stephanie Brown each finished with six with Brown leading VSU on the boards with five rebounds.

In the first quarter, neither team could gain a sizeable lead as Winston-Salem State took the early three point advantage after Jeri Craine knocked down a jumper that made it 8-5 in the early going.

Virginia State would then score the next four points to surge ahead 9-8 thanks to baskets by Nandi Taylor and Wynterra Pittman. After WSSU tied it at 9-9, Jatzmin Johnson put the Rams up 11-9 following a jumper at the 3:09 mark.

VSU would force the issue, tying the game for the fourth time following Donae’ Moguel’s basket at the 2:04 mark that would remain through the end of the quarter.

Virginia State then went on a quick 5-0 run to surge ahead 16-11 after another Moguel basket.

WSSU would respond with a 9-1 run to take the 20-17 lead following a Taelor Mandeville layup in traffic with 4:14 left in the first half. Neither team could get a shot to fall the remaining of the half, with VSU hitting five free throws down the stretch and WSSU with getting a pair from Mandeville to push the score to 22-22 at the break.

The Rams would take control in the third quarter, putting together a 10-3 run over the first 6:53 of the quarter, limiting VSU to just one field goal, a layup from Sha’Quira Palmer with 2:46 left to cut the Winston-Salem State lead to 32-25 with 2:46 left.

The Rams then clamped down on the defensive end when Awa Kalmstrom forced a turnover and took it the distance for the easy layup to extend the lead back to seven points (34-27).

Following a WSSU miss, Virginia State’s Joy Hickman knocked down a three pointer from the corner to pull to within 34-30.

Following a VSU foul, Mandeville would hit a free throw and following the miss on her second attempt, was able to wrestle possession away from VSU’s Stephanie Brown, which led to a flurry of missed WSSU shots and offensive rebounds.

WSSU finally earned a foul with 0.3 left on the third quarter clock and Briana Arnold hit her first attempt, pushing the Rams lead to 36-30 at the end of the quarter.

WSSU would push the lead back to eight points at 40-32 but VSU responded with a three pointer from the corner by Taylor that made it 40-35 with just 6:40 to play. [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cart=”y” identifier=”B00DQJSXHO” locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]

With Winston-Salem State clinging to a 43-38 lead, Virginia State got a layup from Stephanie Brown then forced a WSSU turnover and the Trojans Wynterra Pittman converted on the other end to draw to within 43-42 at the 1:23 mark. WSSU would then suffer another turnover and VSU took the 44-43 lead on another layup from Pittman with 49 seconds left.

Following a WSSU timeout, Jatzmin Johnson came through to nail a huge three pointer from in front of the WSSU bench with 35.7 seconds left to take back the lead at 46-44.

On the next VSU possession, Pittman had an open mid-range jumper fall short and Taelor Mandeville secured the rebound for WSSU. Forced to foul, the Trojans sent Mandeville to the line with 13.5 seconds left. Mandeville calmly buried both shots to extend the WSSU lead to 48-44.

Virginia State was then saddled with a technical foul after calling a timeout after having already exhausted all their allotted timeouts.

Mandeville then put WSSU up 49-44 after hitting a free throw. Following another VSU foul, WSSU’s Kandace Tate was true on one of her next two attempts that would ice the game for the Rams, with WSSU taking the 50-44 win in dramatic fashion.

Winston-Salem State coach A.G. Hall praised the defensive effort exhibited by his squad. “It was a great defensive effort for our club today,” said Hall. “Virginia State came in as the defensive leader in the conference and we wanted to come out and show that we also were a strong defensive team and I think we showed that today.”

WSSU will advance to take on the top seed from the Southern Division in Shaw University.

Courtesy: CIAA


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