Coach L’Tona Lamonte of Winston-Salem State has used Band-Aids and tender loving care to guide her injury-riddled women's basketball team this season.
All of that guidance came together in a big way in a 63-59 upset win in overtime over second-seeded Lincoln (Pa.) today in the quarterfinals of the CIAA Women's Tournament at the Spectrum Center. The Rams (15-15) will play top-seeded Fayetteville State in a semifinal at 1 p.m. Friday.
Each of 14 players on the opening-day roster suffered some sort of injury this season resulting in lost games. At one point, the Rams had eight healthy players.
Lamonte says that she's up to 10 healthy players, and now they've scored one of the biggest wins of her four seasons at her alma mater.
“I really think it is, and I say that because of all the injuries we’ve battled through all season," Lamonte said by phone. "We just really came together when it mattered most.”
The Rams have won four games in a row and are in the semifinals for the first time since WSSU returned to the CIAA in 2010.
"We still have work to do and while we are excited about advancing we know how tough Fayetteville State is, so we will have to ready," Lamonte said.
The Lions (23-6) lost their third in a row to end their season. The Lions had beaten the Rams twice during the regular season in close games, one in overtime.
“That did give us some confidence knowing we had played them well in both of our earlier meetings,” said Lamonte, whose contract expires at the end of the season. “I just thought we did a nice job of buying into what we wanted in the second half. We got off to a good start and led early but we knew they would make a run.”
Brandi Segars led the Rams with 15 points, 12 rebounds and an assist. Melody Pritchard and Taylor Daniels each had nine points, and eight Rams scored at least two points.
Dahja Williams, who had eight points, 13 rebounds and two blocked shots, played maybe the best game of her career.