Winston Salem, NC- Salem celebrated Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night in getting a much needed victory over conference opponent Methodist University last night. The Spirits held on to secure a 78-66 win against the tenacious play of the Monarchs. Controlling the game for most of the night, Spirits jumped out to an early 33-20 at halftime, even leading by as much as 21 points midway through the third period. The Monarchs fought back to cut the deficit to single digits late in the fourth period, but the Spirits were able to seal the victory by defending the three-point arc and converting on valuable possessions.
Four Salem Spirits scored in double digits. Led by senior Tamara Blanton who scored a career high 27 points shooting 90% from the free throw line, 50% from behind the arc, and 43.7% from the field. She was followed by first year Makalla Burnette with 17, Lauren Privette who garnered her first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Chaniece Moss who shot 50% from the field with 10 points.
The Monarchs were able to hang around due in part to controlling a 50-39 rebounding advantage over the Spirits, including notching 22 offensive boards. This was the key to their forwards having a big game performance, as Kaneya Chambers (16), Kodi Centry (11), and Kayla Goldsmith (14) all scored in double digits for the Monarchs.
At halftime the Spirits student-athletes honored faculty and staff members from the Salem community who have made an impact on their life not only in the classroom but in the community and in life.
Coach Mohney had this to say, following the first victory on the year, "All of the credit goes to the student-athletes who competed for this win. They took their game tonight to the next level. From the beginning of the season we have made great strides and they were finally able to put four quarters together. Methodist kept it a game and pushed us to the finish; with that we did not show defeat on their runs but rather we rose to the occasion and those are commendable attributes. To be able to get this win on our home floor, in front of our faculty, staff, and loyal supporters means a lot to our program and the steps we take going forward with the remainder of our season. Now we take this momentum and take each game moving forward with confidence that we can compete."
Spirits return to action on the road, as they visit William Peace University in Raleigh, NC Saturday, January 19th for a 2:00pm contest.