ATLANTA - Senior Jennifer Hailey put the
Charlotte 49ers on her back, tallying 13-straight points during a 13-minute
second half stretch, but the Niners were unable to overcome Toledo Saturday
afternoon, dropping a 76-66 decision during day one action at the GSU Holiday
& Hoops Tournament in Atlanta.
Hailey ended up a point shy of her career-best output, collecting a game-high
26 points to go along with her nine rebounds, a blocked shot and steal in 33
minutes. She hit 10-of-18 field goals and 6-of-10 free throws and extended her consecutive
games streak with at least one blocked shot to 23.
Classmate Jai Forney chipped in 14 points, a dozen after the break, while
sophomore Hillary Sigmon reached double-figure scoring for the fourth-straight
game with 12.
Junior Ny Hammonds, the nation's leader in assists per game, handed out eight
of the team's 14 helpers with only one turnover. Senior Amanda Dowe overcame a
sluggish shooting effort to haul in a 49ers-best 10 boards, although Charlotte
(8-3) lost the battle on the glass for the first time this season, 44-35.
The Rockets, who are receiving votes in both national polls, won their 10th
straight by feeding the ball to Yolanda Richardson for 24 points. She was
joined in double figures by 10 points apiece from Inma Zanoguera and Naama
Richardson also grabbed a team-high eight caroms, while Lecretia Smith and Kyle
Baumgartner each picked up six boards.
In a highly-competitive, fast-paced game, the outcome was not decided until the
final five minutes when Toledo (11-1) turned a two-possession difference into a
double-digit lead over a three-minute period. Charlotte was trailing by four,
61-57, on a Hailey layup at 5:04 but the Rockets quickly answered with a
Zanoguera triple from the corner and then used a top-of-the-key trey by
Baumgartner to open an eight-point cushion, 67-59, with 4:13 left.
Despite Hailey doing her best to keep her team close, scoring five more 49ers
points in the stretch, Charlotte was unable to cut into the deficit and began
fouling to lengthen the game and put Toledo on the charity stripe. Because of
the free throws, including four-straight Shafir charity tosses, the lead
swelled to 12, 76-64, with 57.8 seconds remaining.
When Sigmon hit a running jumper at the 1:06 mark, it was the first non-Hailey
points for the 49ers since Dowe went strong to the hoop at 13:06 for one of her
only two field goals on the day.
After the Rockets started the game with the opening four points, Sigmon capped
a 5-0 Niners spurt with a 3-pointer to give Charlotte its first lead. The 49ers
were able to widen the margin to five, 11-6, following a baseline jumper from
hometown freshman Alexis Alexander at the 14:55 mark.
Toledo countered with a 10-2 run, covering nearly five minutes, as Smith
provided UT with the 16-13 edge at 10:04. After the Rockets increased their
advantage to five, 20-15, Charlotte rattled off an 8-0 streak, featuring four
points from Hammonds, to take a 23-20 lead at 5:01 and forcing Toledo to call a
The see-saw first half featured two more tied scores down the stretch but
Hammonds hit another bucket with 38 seconds to go to lift the 49ers on top
entering the break, 30-28.
It remained a back-and-forth battle during the early stretches of the second
half, as Charlotte went to Hailey for its points and Toledo turned to
Richardson. The low-block battle highlighted a total of 82 combined points in
The game remained close until the final five minutes when the Rockets were able
to pull away to earn their third win in as many tries in the all-time series.
The 49ers will return action at 2 p.m. Sunday to conclude tournament action in
the consolation matchup with Mississippi Valley State, who dropped a 76-60
decision to host Georgia State in Saturday's first contest.
Sunday's game can be heard on Charlotte49ers.com with AJ Mead handling
play-by-play duties. Updates can also be found on Twitter by following