A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Lady Rams Continue to Shock
Raleigh, NC ï¿½ The Lady Rams continue to play the type of basketball that most in the CIAA League expected from them all year. Tuesday night they shock everyone by upsetting the top seeded Lady Broncos of Fayetteville State University in the second round of the 2005 CIAA Womenï¿½s Basketball Tournament by the score of 70-60 at the RBC Center in Raleigh.
As was the case in the pair of meetings between the Lady Rams and Lady Broncos during the regular-season, this meeting would also come down to the gameï¿½s final moments.
Both teams came out seemingly tentative and they both shot no better than 32 percent. They also combined to miss 45 of 65 shots and combined to shoot under 31 percent but it was the Lady Broncos who made the few field goals they made count and took advantage of the 11 turnovers and turned them into 8 points and led by a narrow margin at half time 29-27. The Lady Broncos, an undersized team compared to the Lady Rams, surprisingly outscored WSSU forwards Shalonda Carter, Tiffany Tonkins and center Cherena Douglass 18-8.
The Lady Rams would come out in the second half with precision passing, good execution and solid defensive play forcing turnovers and scoring inside. Something they did not do in the first half. Snubbed by the CIAA as an all American this year, Shalonda Carter got the scoring going inside when she recorded her first field goal with a strong move to the basket, helping the Lady Rams regain the lead 39-37 with just over 13 minutes to play.
The Lady Broncos would strike back as they regained the lead only minutes later on a Tiffany Mitchell left-handed drive to the basket that made WSSUï¿½s lead short-lived.
The Lady Rams would contiune to battle as they went on an impressive 7-0 run with Latoya Armstrong scoring seven consecutive points over the span of only 36 seconds. Armstrong would drill a long three-point shot, get a steal and lay-up and convert a pair of free throws all in just over half a minute to give WSSU a seven-point advantage.
That seven-point swing is what would ultimately prove to be the difference in the game as the Lady Rams snapped a three-game losing skid to the Lady Broncos that spanned two seasons.
The Lady Rams were led by Shalonda Carter who scored 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as she led three Lady Rams in double-figures.
With the win, the Lady Rams improve to 15-14 overall and advance to face the Lady Vikings of Elizabeth City State University in the first game of Fridayï¿½s semifinal round at 1:00 PM.
The win also marks the farthest that current Head Coach John Williams has led the Lady Rams during his three-season tenure at WSSU and the farthest WSSU has made it in the CIAA Tournament since losing in the championship in 2002.
Head Coach John Williams used a halftime speech to implore his team to get the ball inside to his taller and stronger forwards. ï¿½Down the stretch, we made those inside shots when it really counted, and we made a couple of those and-one shots, and man, I am just happy for the girls. They really executed the game plan that we designed, and we feel good right now, but the work isnï¿½t finishedï¿½, he said. ï¿½ Our girls just refused to lose. We pretty much kept the lead and didnï¿½t let up, and made all free throws when it counted. We hung in there and stuck togetherï¿½, he also said.
The Lady Rams Shalonda Carter expressed how much it meant to beat the top seeded Fayetteville State University team: I t means a whole lot tonight I am speechless, I give credit to FSU program and coach tucker, I just know third time would not be a charm for them and payback is all I can say.ï¿½