CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte women's basketball team
picked up victory No. 600 in program history when it captured a school-record
12th in a row this season, handing VCU a 63-54 Senior Night setback
Thursday evening inside Halton Arena. The 49ers, playing in their 38th
campaign, needed 1,060 games to reach the 600th triumph for a 56.6 all-time
The victory was also the 12th straight, surpassing a pair of 11-game
runs from Jan. 11, 1979, to Feb. 7, 1979, and from Dec. 8, 1980, to Jan. 21,
1981. Charlotte (23-4, 12-1 A-10), which locked up a first-round bye at the
upcoming Atlantic 10 Tournament following Sunday's triumph at La Salle,
accomplished Thursday's win with conference player of the year candidate,
senior Jennifer Hailey, having her double-double streak snapped at a dozen.
Hailey finished with eight points and eight rebounds, playing just 23 minutes
due to foul trouble. She often faced four defenders around her in the low block
but still came away with a career-high tying four steals. She also added a pair
of blocked shots, tying her own single-season school record set a year ago with
73, which also extended her consecutive games streak with at least one
rejection to 39.
To make up for her scoring absence, the Niners turned to a trio of starters to
register double-figure points. Junior Ny Hammonds and sophomore Hillary Sigmon
shared team-high honors with 14, while senior Jai Forney chipped in 14 in her
final home contest.
The program's other senior, Amanda Dowe, led the battle on the glass with 15
rebounds, helping the 49ers to a 43-to-27 edge on the boards. She nearly had a
double-double, pouring in nine points.
Charlotte's dominance in the rebounding column was helped by the fact that all
eight players who saw action grabbed at least two boards. It is the first time
this season and third overall under head coach Cara Consuegra the Niners have
accomplished that feat.
VCU was guided by Robyn Parks' 25 points, including 11-of-13 at the foul line
and 16 in the second half. Also coming alive in the second 20 minutes for the
Rams was Jessica Pellechio, who netted 16 of her 18 points during the second
stanza and connected on four of the team's five 3-pointers.
The first half was a nip-and-tuck affair early until an 8-2 spurt, capped by a
Hammonds triple at 13:29, pushed the 49ers' advantage to 12-6. A pair of Parks
jumpers sandwiched another Hammonds trey, keeping VCU (10-18, 3-10 A-10) within
five, 15-10, at the 11:23 mark.
Neither team would score for the next 4:36 when a Kaneisha Atwater jumper broke
the drought and trimmed the deficit to three, 15-12. The two squads combined
for seven turnovers and nine missed opportunities during the stretch.
It would be over a minute again before the nets were warmed up, but following a
Parks jumper at the 3:25 mark to cut the gap to four, 20-16, it would be all
Charlotte to end the period. The home-standing 49ers closed the half on a 15-1
spurt, including three free throws by Sigmon with 43 seconds left after she was
fouled behind the arc just seconds after burying a long-range bomb.
Sigmon would go on to score eight-straight points for the Niners down the
stretch. Charlotte had one last chance following a Carleeda Green miss with
four seconds to play. Sigmon inbounded the ball to Forney at the midcourt
stripe. She then turned and launched a 40-footer towards the basket. Her heave
banked off the glass and through the hoop, sending the Halton Arena crowd into
a frenzy and providing her team with a 35-17 halftime cushion.
The Rams did not let the final first-half blow haunt them, as Pellechio came
out of the break by draining a 3-pointer on the first possession just nine
seconds into the frame. A turn-around jumper in the lane by freshman Alexis
Alexander kept Charlotte on top by 19, 43-24, with 16:23 to play.
From there, however, the Niners offense would go cold. Parks recorded six
points in an 11-0 VCU run that covered nearly three minutes, slicing the margin
to single digits, 43-35, at 13:33. The 49ers responded with a 10-0 spurt during
the next 4:10, including a Sigmon triple and old-fashioned three-point play
from Dowe at 10:13.
Again, the Rams went on the offensive. They would once again trim the deficit
to eight on a Green 3-pointer with 5:38 left despite Charlotte calling a
30-second timeout just prior to set up a defensive scheme. It was the final points of an 11-1 stretch.
VCU continued to battle hard, using a pair of Pellechio treys to cut the gap to
seven, 59-52, with exactly two minutes to play. A Sigmon 3-pointer between the
two padded the Niners cushion enough to not be threatened as the Rams would
only take four more attempts from the floor in the last 2:00.
Charlotte will close its regular season with a trip to Richmond to face the
Spiders at 2 p.m. Sunday. The 49ers and Spiders will meet for the 11th
time with the Niners earning a win in each of the last nine contests.
The game can be heard live on Charlotte49ers.com with Josh Feldman handling the
Charlotte Postgame Quotes vs. VCU
Head coach Cara Consuegra
I'm really happy for our team. We won our 12th straight game
today, which is a school record. We knew it was going to be a battle, and
certainly at this point of the year, not everybody knows what we're capable of
and VCU had a really great game plan. Obviously they took Jenn completely out
of the game, and that's a credit to Jenn and the type of season that she's had.
She has been unbelievably tremendous and I thought that their entire game plan
centered on taking Jenn out of the paint, limiting her touches and Amanda's
touches. And I was proud of the rest of the team for stepping up and making
some really great plays when we needed to make them. I thought defensively in
the first half we were tremendous. We played everything that they played
correctly. We had almost 20 deflections, forced them into 12 turnovers and in
the second half, we lost our intensity defensively. We didn't have quite as
many deflections. Obviously we let Robyn Parks get two easy touches and we were
in foul trouble. We had two freshmen trying to guard one of the best players in
the league. So that just makes it difficult. After the game, I told my team
we're not always going to be perfect, not every game is going to be easy, but
great teams find a way to win and great teams find a way to win down the
stretch. We had a jump ball down the stretch that gave us an extra possession,
which was huge. We told them during the timeout that the possession arrow was
ours. They listened, pumped it up and we got a possession. Jai came off the
bench, drove and scored. Jenn, obviously struggled and didn't get a lot of
touches, scored that layup that we needed. Great teams find ways to win and I
thought we did that tonight. So I'm proud of our 12th straight win
and I'm certainly proud to send our three seniors out on a win.
VCU creating turnovers
they did a good job on their trapping, which we knew was coming every time and
our team just did not execute our game plan. When the trap came, we were
supposed to have our high post flash and have the short corner step up. We
rarely did that, and when we did, we missed it. We just tried to throw it back
to Ny and say Ny it's yours. Well, we can't do that all the time. So we prepped
for it for two days; we just didn't follow that game plan and that's also a
credit to VCU. They did a good job and that's also what they do.
letting the 18-point lead slip in the second half
think it was a combination of lack of patience and VCU. I think defensively we
really lost our intensity in the second half. I thought we made it too easy for
Robyn Parks to catch, she was really hurting us. 23 (Jessica Pellechio) comes
in and scores, I think, 2 or 4 points in the first half; 14 or 16 on us in the
second half. They have two go-to players, which we limited pretty well in the
first half. We just didn't do a good job of it during the second half for
whatever reason. And again, we're trying to battle through 20 minutes without
Jenn and Amanda. We haven't done that all year and that makes a difference. We
did enough to win. I thought offensively we went in spurts throughout the game.
Throughout the game we looked really good and we had some dry spurts, but we
made a lot of shots at the end to win.
dominating points in the paint, 30-to-10
I don't know if it was all just the post. VCU was not playing us on the
perimeter. And we started the game launching threes, which is not our strength.
We just talked about if they're not going to play us then we have to drive at
them. We've got to get the ball either to our post in the paint or with the
drive and pass. I thought later in the first half and definitely the second
half we did a better job of attacking them. When the ball got skipped, we're
closing out hard and we're trying to attack to get to the paint. That's a
credit to our players for listening to the adjustment at halftime and executing
seniors have been absolutely fabulous the whole year. We're a great team. We
have a lot of weapons together and we're very unselfish. We play for each
other, which makes us very good. But our three seniors: Jenn, Amanda and Jai,
have an internal drive right now that is just amazing and a will to win that
has rubbed off on this team. And you can see that in them even when they
weren't play great. It brought everybody to another level. Jenn Hailey has
really led that with her energy and the way she gives to this team is
incredible and this is her first game in A-10 play not having a double-double,
which is tough when you have four people hanging on you. She has elevated the
play of everybody else and that has been spectacular to see. I'm just proud of
them and really happy for them.
preparing for a new conference opponent every week
prep is so tough. Every time it's a brand new team. Every time it's a new game
plan. We spend countless hours preparing our team.
VCU being a new member of the A-10
never seen them before. We don't know anything about them. We don't know the
calls because they're really young and new. And obviously that's on our staff
to prepare our team the best that we can. We did a really good job. When you
watch the game every time they called a play, our team was calling it out. We
knew almost everything of what they we going to run from our scouting. Not that
we always executed it, but that's why you play a game. We're proud of our 12-game
win streak, but at the same time it hasn't been easy. We've earned it. We
haven't blown people out, we haven't been completely dominant for two halves,
but we have great kids. We work hard. We love each other. And we play to win.
And that's why we've been able to do what we've done.
practicing half court shots
do it every shootaround. We finish on half-court shots for exactly that reason.
Jai Forney is probably our best. However, she was shooting on the side that she
dislikes I think. She usually likes to shoot on the other side. But she is
probably one of our best. Jai, Ayanna (Holmes) and Ny are probably our three
best. Like I said, that's why we do it in shootaround. Not just for fun, but
you never know when you're going to get that shot.
Sophomore guard Hillary Sigmon
own personal eight-point stretch late in the first half
Jenn and Amanda out with foul trouble, we had to come together and step up, so
we could have a comfortable lead going into halftime. My teammates had
confidence in me and I had confidence in myself, and I just took over at that
the turnovers in the beginning of the second half
had a flow going in there and we lost it with turning the ball over. We just
have to have faith in each other and keep it going when we're facing turnovers
and not hitting shots. We just have to be with each other and keep it going.
school record win streak
means everything to me, especially for our seniors. I'm just happy for them. To
be a part of the team is just awesome.
physical play in the paint
On if there is pressure for perimeter players to step
up when posts aren't playing well
prefer the perimeter but if I have to get in there, I'll do it.
I don't think so. I think
that we all come together and there really isn't any pressure on certain
people. We just get together and just force it on the opponent.