FROSTBURG, MD – This afternoon the Tigers faced off against the Rams of Winston-Salem State University for their second game of the regular season. Salem looked to bounce back from a tough loss in their season opener last night against the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
The Rams got the action started early with a potent mixture of strong offense with an impenetrable defense. They took advantage in the opening minutes with a 12-0 run in the first two minutes of gameplay. The Tigers were able to stop the bleeding before the midway point of the quarter courtesy of a free throw by Landaisha Smith. From there the Tiger offense was able to gain some momentum as they rode an 11-6 scoring run into the break to cut the deficit to six points at 18-12 advantage Rams.
The second quarter opened with a much slower offensive pace. Both teams struggled to score in the opening five minutes, but the Tigers were able to trim the deficit to just four after a layup by Carine Pinkney to make the score 24-20 with under four minutes to play in the half. Salem ramped up the pressure defensively to close the half as they forced four turnovers in the closing minutes before the half. At the midway point of the game, Salem trailed 28-25.
Elena Pericic came out of the half hot for the Tigers as she put five points on the board in the first two minutes of play. Salem’s defense continued to look solid against Winston-Salem, but they were unable to take the lead. The Tigers stayed within striking range which kept them in the game, but it would take a fourth-quarter comeback to bring home the win. Going into the fourth quarter the Rams led the Tigers 45-40.
As the fourth quarter began Salem needed a big offensive showing to pull off the comeback. Anete Bluma opened up the scoring for the Tigers with a tough and-one she converted on to put the Tigers within four and keep their hopes alive. The Tigers came storming back just under four minutes into the final quarter of play thanks to a 7-0 run which tied the game at 50-50 with 6:26 left to play. Both offenses caught fire in the closing moments of the game. Salem was led by Teodora Popovic who scored or assisted the final eight points for the Tigers. In the end, the comeback efforts fell short as the Tigers lost another road battle 71-66 to fall to 0-2 on the year.
The Tigers hit the road to Indiana, PA where they will battle the Crimson Hawks of IUP on Monday at 5:30 pm.