Photo: Garrett Garms

CHARLOTTE, NC – The Winston-Salem State University Rams (15-15) shocked the world when the team took a 63-59 overtime win over the Lincoln (Pa.) Lady Lions (23-6) in the quarterfinal round of the 2020 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament, Thursday afternoon. The Rams had to put on one of their best defensive performance of the season as they held the high-powered Lady Lions to just 59 points in the game.

“We know that going up against them [Lincoln] was going to be a tough hard fight. We know that they’re a well-coached team,” Winston-Salem State University head coach L’Tona Lamonte said. “We knew that we had to lock in and we knew that rebounding was going to be key, and we knew that we had to play together and play on the same page.”

In addition, playing a tremendous defensive game, the Rams controlled the paint as they held a 50-41 rebounding edge over the Lady Lions. WSSU graduate forward Brandi Segars led the way for the Rams with a double-double 15 points and 12 rebounds in the game while sophomore forward Dahja Williams added a team-high 13 rebounds in the game.

The Rams set the tone for the game early with strong first quarter. WSSU set the tone early when the team opened the game with a 10-2 start that was capped by a Segars jumper with 5:12 left in the quarter. But the Rams had to face a challenge in the final minutes of the quarter as they allowed the Lions to go on an 8-3 run that left the game tied 13-13 at the end of the quarter.

The second quarter saw the Rams continued their strong effort and pulled away from the Lady Lions. Once again, it was the Rams who came out with the strong start as a pair of Williams free throws put WSSU on top, 21-15 with 7:15 left in the quarter. From there, the Rams would face a challenge as they allowed Lincoln (Pa.) to go on an 8-2 run that left WSSU trailing, 22-23 with 3:46 left in the quarter. However, the Rams would finish the quarter in style as a jumper from sophomore guard Melody Prichard capped an 8-2 run by the Rams that gave the team a 31-25 lead at the half.

In the second half, the Rams and the Lady Lions continued the back-and-forth battle that saw neither team pull away. The Rams allowed the Lady Lions to tie the game four times during the quarter, but the team never let go of their lead as a pair of free throws from sophomore forward Kyree Hall left the Rams with a 41-40 lead that the team carried into the fourth quarter.

The drama continued in the fourth quarter with the Rams playing some clutch defense to send the game into overtime. One of the biggest shots of the quarter came when senior guard Jahlia Williams banked in a three-pointer with 8:06 left in the quarter to tie the game, 44-44. The two teams battled back and forth in the remainder of the quarter with the Rams allowed the Lady Lions to take a 54-51 lead. But the Rams would not relent as the Rams tied the game for the 13th time on a jumper from Prichard with 00:51 left to play. The Rams would get a key jumper from Segars with 00:21 left in regulation that tied that gave the Rams a 56-55 lead. However, the Rams allowed a Lady Lions free throw with 00:04 left in regulation that tied the game and sent it into overtime.

The battle was over in the overtime period as the Rams turned up their defensive efforts to pull away with the win. For the overtime period, there was only one field goal scored by either team, but the Rams were especially effective at the free-throw line where the team scored the final three points of the game at the free-throw line to seal the win.

With the win, the Rams improve to 15-15 overall on the season. The team advances to the semifinal round of the 2020 CIAA Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament for the first time since 2005. The Rams will take on the 2019-20 CIAA Southern Division Champion Fayetteville State Broncos in a 1:00 p.m. game at Spectrum Arena.

Courtesy: WSSU Athletics


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