PHILADELPHIA - An overall sluggish effort cost the Charlotte women's basketball team, who dropped a 48-47 decision to Temple Saturday evening in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 Buick Atlantic 10 Championship at Michael J. Hagan '85 Arena in Philadelphia. The No. 2-seeded 49ers fell in their first tournament contest for the second-straight year as the No. 10-seeded Owls evened the season series.
The Niners used a double-double performance from All-Atlantic 10 Third Team selection, senior Amanda Dowe to stay close. Dowe posted her 13th double-double of the season and 21st of her career with 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Senior Jai Forney added a team-best 15 points, connecting on 7-of-14 field goals and adding five assists to only one turnover. Junior Ny Hammonds, also an All-Atlantic 10 Third Team honoree, also had a 5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio to go along with her five points and five rebounds.
Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Jennifer Hailey was held to a season-low five points, not reaching the scoring column until a layup at 10:17 to force a 31-31 tie. Hailey blocked two shots, extending her consecutive games streak with at least one rejection to 41.
Rateska Brown paced Temple with a game-best 23 points, including five 3-pointers on seven attempts behind the arc. She added a 6-of-7 effort at the charity stripe as Charlotte (24-5) had no answer defensively against her.
Tyonna Williams added 14 points, while Victoria Macaulay and Natasha Thames each hauled in 11 rebounds to lead the Owls to a 43-to-41 edge on the glass. It marked just the fourth time all season in which the Niners allowed an opponent to collect more boards.
Neither team was able to gain more than a five-point cushion during the opening period. Williams started the scoring with a triple at 18:39 but the 49ers' Hillary Sigmon answered with one of her own from the right corner at 16:16.
As both programs traded baskets, a pair of Brown 3-pointers comprised a 6-0 Temple spurt, forced a Charlotte timeout at 12:19 and put her team on top, 11-7.
Ayanna Holmes helped start a 6-2 Niners run during the next 3:14, as a Forney jumper caused the game's third tie, 13-13, by the 8:29 mark. However, Brown again went on a mini-surge by herself, registering five straight to increase the Owls lead to 18-13 at 6:34.
The 49ers did not quit, as Forney and Dowe contributed the next four points, slicing the deficit to one, 18-17, with 4:45 remaining. Forney's basket came after she intercepted a pass in the backcourt and raced to the other end uncontested.
A Hammonds free throw at 2:14 forced another deadlock, at 20-20, but Macaulay gave Temple (14-17) a halftime lead after her runner in the lane with six seconds to play for a 22-20 edge.
The Owls used another Williams trey to push their advantage to five before Forney mounted a Niners 9-0 run by tallying seven points during a 1:47 stretch, lifting Charlotte back into the lead, 29-25, with 15:19 to play.
Temple, did not let the streak deter it, as it climbed back into the contest on a 6-0 surge, including four more points from Brown, to take a 31-29 advantage before Hailey finally entered the scoring column at 10:17 for the sixth tie, 31-31.
Forney's jumper at 9:26 would give the 49ers a temporary lead before a 9-0 Owls run, capped by back-to-back Brown 3-pointers, gave Temple the game's largest lead at 40-33 with 7:48 left.
Charlotte kept battling and would outscore the Owls 10-3 during the next 6:14 to force the eighth knotted score, 43-43, as Sigmon drained a trifecta capping the surge. However, following a quick Niners timeout, Williams answered with a long-range bomb and it helped keep enough of a distance for Temple down the stretch.
Dowe chipped in two free throws, only to be matched by Brown, before Dowe added one last jumper with 5.2 seconds left. On the ensuing in-bounds play, Charlotte appeared to secure a steal but the loose ball remained on the floor as time expired.
The 49ers will now await their postseason fate, which is sure to come for the program for the 11th-straight campaign. Charlotte will learn of its destiny no earlier than Monday, March 18.