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Niners reach 20 wins as part of Play 4Kay game
Courtesy: Charlotte Sports Information
          Release: 02/17/2013
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte 49ers women's basketball team captured its 20th win of the season while supporting the WBCA's Play 4Kay initiative Sunday afternoon, knocking off George Washington, 68-56, inside Halton Arena. The victory, the program's ninth straight on the season, moved the Niners within a half-game of conference leader Dayton in the Atlantic 10 race, who plays Monday night.

Charlotte (20-4, 9-1 A-10) attained the 20-win plateau for the 13th time in program history and first since 2010-11 when it won a school-record 27 on its way to reaching the WNIT Semifinals. Four 49ers tallied double-figure points, while seniors Jennifer Hailey, the three-time reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Week, and Amanda Dowe each posted a double-double for the second-straight game.

Hailey, who was honored pregame for her recent career blocked shots record and 1,000 career rebounds, finished with a game-best 16 points and 13 rebounds to go along with five rejections. It marks her 10th-straight double-double and her 19th of the season and 39th of her career.

Dowe contributed a 15-point, 17-rebound performance for her third-straight double-double, the 11th of the season and 19th of her career. Ten of her 17 boards came on the defensive glass, helping the Niners to win the battle of the boards, 48-to-39.

Fellow starters Jai Forney and Hillary Sigmon chipped in 13 and 10 points, respectively, with Sigmon draining the team's lone 3-pointer.

Danni Jackson poured in 12 points to lead the Colonials, while Megan Nipe and Alexis Chandler each notched 10 to give George Washington (11-14, 5-6 A-10) a trio in double figures. Tara Booker hauled in a team-best nine rebounds, one more than Shi-Heria Shipp's eight.

The Colonials jumped out to an early 2-0 lead as the first two Niners possessions resulted in turnovers. Once GW gained the edge, back-to-back buckets from Forney put Charlotte ahead and it would never look back. The 49ers would score seven straight overall, taking a 7-2 lead, featuring six out of Forney's hands, while holding George Washington off the board until a Chandler free throw at 11:38.

The Niners built an 11-3 cushion following a Dowe layup at 9:03 before three-straight points from Nipe on separate possessions ended the Colonials drought. George Washington used her personal run to start a 6-2 spurt, closing to within four, 13-9, on an Aaliyah Brown 3-pointer just before the under eight-minute media timeout.

Following the short break, Charlotte rattled off the next six points to build a 10-point cushion, 19-9, during the next four minutes. Another triple, this time by Booker, halted the surge. GW would finish the half with an 8-4 run, pulling within six, 23-17, at the intermission.

The Colonials momentum would carry over to the early stages of the second stanza, as Shipp hit two layups and Jackson added another to slice the deficit to two, 25-23, and forcing a quick 49ers timeout.

Feeling energized and refocused following the timeout, Charlotte mounted an 11-4 run covering the next three minutes when Sigmon capped it with lone Niners trey. After George Washington trimmed it to seven twice in the next minute, the last at 38-31, the 49ers tallied an 11-0 spurt to separate themselves from the tight game.

Five different players scored during the game-deciding run, as Charlotte opened a 49-31 lead on a Dowe layup at the 10:47 mark. While the Niners advantage did not swell above 18 for the remainder of the contest, double off-setting technicals kept the difference the same.

The Colonials used the fouls as momentum, posting a 7-1 stretch over the course of nearly three minutes to pull within a dozen, 52-40. George Washington would get no closer in the final stretch, as a Forney layup helped the 49ers push the margin back to as high as 18, 64-46, with 3:03 left.

A 10-4 game-closing run by the Colonials, including the last four points with under a minute to play, decided the final outcome.

Charlotte returns to the road for three of its final four regular-season contests, starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday when it travels to Amherst, Mass., to face Massachusetts. Josh Feldman returns to the airwaves as the play-by-play voice for the Charlotte49ers.com broadcast.

Charlotte Postgame Quotes (2.17.13)
Head Coach Cara Consuegra


Opening statement
I was proud of our team to come out in the second half and show the team we are capable of being. I thought in the first half, we were not very focused with what we needed to do defensively. We were giving up easy baskets to them on things that we knew were coming. I just didn't feel that, from top to bottom, everybody was on the same page. We went into halftime, we talked about it and made adjustments. We came out in the second half and still were not feeling it for the first minute and a half. I took a timeout and was hard on the team on that timeout. You could really see the character on this team. To come out after I had been hard on them to come out and be different. We decided to be the Charlotte team that we know that we can be. That a big compliment to my team they just believe in each other so much. They believe in our coaching staff. We have great unity. We have great togetherness. We trust each other. To listen and change and get better. Because of those reasons, we were able to get a good win today. I am just pleased with winning our 20th game. It is a great accomplishment for this group of girls, who have worked so hard for it. This is just a great team win and everyone was able to come in and contribute and we will go from here.

On the slow start
We just were not focused is the word I want to use. We were not focusing on the game plan. We were not executing the game plan. In terms of they were running, things that we knew were coming, but we just did not play them right and it gave them many easy layups. Offensively our pace was slow, we were not focused on moving the ball and we were not focused on taking the right shots. We took some bad shots. The easy ones we did get, we did not focus on the rim and finish. The combination of the two made it a tough half for us. We just did not have it clicking defensively or offensively. We were lucky to get out of the first half with a lead.

On holding GW to one field goal in first 11 minutes
To be honest, I cannot say that was all our doing. I thought that they missed many easy shots. Sure we held them to one field goal but we were watching the game and we can see we are being beat in certain situations. That is not acceptable we have to get better. As we start getting into the playoffs, teams are not going to miss easy shots. Therefore, we have to take care of that business now and make sure we avoid that from even happening. That is the standard we expect from our players and they are starting to expect it from themselves.

On what needs to be done to play a full 40 minutes
I think that is why many people ask me if I have seen the best out of this team. I would say no, we could get better. I do not think we have fully peaked yet. We have not played an entire game with everyone contributing and all clicking the whole game. I have not seen that yet. We have had games where we started well; most recently, we have not as much. Our team has identified that we go over that in the film room. That is why I feel like we still have room to improve. I think we will improve and continue to get better. You will see the best basketball from our team when we get to March.

On contributions of the low post
Absolutely Jenn and Amanda do a great job. George Washington had a great game plan when it came to taking Jenn out of the game. She had one to two people around her, sometimes three. We did a great job trying to get her the ball but we had to make halftime adjustments. As we realized that was happening, we have many other people that we have that are capable of taking over. Amanda came in after the half and was just key in making some runs. She had some unbelievable rebounds. She had some great shots and did some things that just helped our momentum going. When she is playing like that, you cannot afford to send to many people to Jenn. From there we just were able to get everybody else to step up and contribute. The great thing about our team is it not just about one or two people. We truly have a team were everyone is capable of stepping up every night and that a fun team to coach.

On reaching the 20th win
It is hard to believe that the season has gone that fast. We talked about it after the game in the locker room. Twenty wins is a significant milestone and the team should be proud of it. I do believe that the team has earned that. I say this to them often, "you get what you earn", and this team, this year, has tried every game to get better every week to get better. They have listened to the message of the coaches. We have listened to what they are saying and because of that, you can see the success we have had. At the same time, I still think we have a ways to go. We can still get better in some areas. If we can get everybody clicking at once, I hope we still got a lot of wins still left in us. The A-10 is going to be tough and we have the last three of four games on the road, which is not going to be easy, but we're going to stay focused and keep our minds on the goal at hand.

Senior forward Amanda Dowe

On playing with Jenn in the low post
Jenn is a good person to be with. She is fun and she is aggressive on the boards. We just play well with each other.

On playing with Jenn the last four years
I know that if I am having a bad game, she will come pick me up, and if she is having a bad game, I will have her back.

On comparing this year to her last three years
I have stepped into more of a role into becoming a leader on this team. My previous years I was looking for my role.

On being a veteran on this year's team
The team is fun. They're passionate, they're fun going. I just love this team.

On playing better in the second half
I was just aggressive on the boards and taking better shots. First half I was not taking good shots. In the second half, I calmed down and started taking high-percentage shots.

On the physicality of the game
They were being physical. We had to stay focused, and if I got in foul trouble, other people would have to step up.

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