NEWKIRK SPARKS LADY RAMS TO CONVINCING VICTORY OVER ST. PAULS
NEWKIRK SPARKS LADY RAMS TO CONVINCING VICTORY OVER ST.
Winston-Salem State cruises past St. Paul’s after sluggish first half
February 28, 2011
CHARLOTTE, NC – Judging by the numbers at the half, the Winston-Salem State Lady Rams seemed vulnerable in the opening round of the CIAA Tournament on Monday night.
Except for one thing: the Lady Rams had Jasmine Newkirk.
Newkirk scored 14 of her game-high 15 points in the first half to lead Winston-Salem State to comfortable edge at the half as the Lady Rams took care of St. Paul’s 66-33 to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
The victory sets up a heavyweight matchup in the next round when the South’s third-seeded Rams (17-10) will face Bowie State (17-9), the No. 2 seed from the North, which received a first-round bye. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.
“I’m more than excited and very much looking forward to what we can do against a very good Bowie State squad,” said Winston-Salem State coach Stephen Joyner, Jr.
Vontisha Woods added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Winston-Salem State while Jhordan Peterson had nine and Courtney Medley had eight.
St. Paul’s was led by Deaudra Brown’s seven points and seven rebounds.
Before that, though, the first half was a struggle for both Winston-Salem State and St. Paul’s, particularly in the early going. The teams combined to make just six of their first 24 shot attempts and had 15 turnovers between them through the first 10 minutes of the game.
Still, the Lady Rams were able to stretch things out against the Lady Tigers (3-23), the No. 6 seed from the Northern Division. And the Rams owed their lead in part to Newkirk, who had nine points as Winston-Salem State opened with a 14-6 edge, fueling a 7-0 run.
St. Paul’s, though, still crept back into the game early, despite long scoring droughts. The Lady Tigers, who shot just 21 percent from the field in the first half, trailed by only five points with 8 minutes left in the opening period before a 10-3 Rams’ run handed Winston-Salem State a 25-13 advantage. Newkirk preserved that lead with a runner off the glass as time expired to end the half with the Lady Rams ahead 27-15.
But it always seemed like the big run was just around the corner.
Winston-Salem State finally began to put the Tigers away midway through the second half, but not before two jumpers pushed St. Paul’s within seven points at 28-21. The decisive run was started by – who else? – Newkirk, who fed Woods with a gorgeous entry pass into the low post for the easy basket.
Winston-Salem State began to abandon gunning for 3-pointers then – the Rams were 1-for-14 from 3-point ranged by the 12-minute mark of the second half – and by looking inside, Winston-Salem State took off. Woods scored a couple of times inside, and the result was a 13-2 run that handed the Rams a 41-23 lead with 11:30 remaining in the game.
“We’ve all bought into the system Coach Joyner has brought to the team,” said senior guard Rene Rector. “
The run ballooned to 20-4 by the 8:06 mark, giving the Rams a 48-25 lead. The Rams took their biggest lead at 63-30 with 3:21 remaining after seven straight points by Peterson triggered a late run.