|Conference USA opener features old rival Wednesday|
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte women’s basketball will square off against a former familiar face from its Sun Belt era when the 49ers play host to Old Dominion in the Conference USA opener for both programs at 7 p.m. Wednesday inside Halton Arena.
With the non-conference schedule in the rearview mirror, the Niners bring a 6-7 record into the contest, including a 78-57 victory Friday over UNC Wilmington on Education Day. Sophomore Tori Carter led the way with a career-high 16 points, including hitting all six of her free throws. She also grabbed a career-best five rebounds.
On the season, four different 49ers have tallied double-figure scoring averages with senior Ny Hammonds leading the pack at an 11.6 clip. She has handed out 59 assists this year, raising her career total to 389 and moving her within two of fourth place and nine of third place in the school’s all-time record book.
Joining Hammonds are sophomore Kira Gordon (11.5 ppg), junior Hillary Sigmon (10.8) and redshirt junior Gabby Tyler (10.0). It marks the first time this year in which four players have averaged double digits at one time.
Tyler is the team’s top rebounder, grabbing 7.2 per contest, while sophomore Alexis Alexander and Gordon are narrowly behind at 6.3 and 6.2, respectively. Charlotte also has secured more caroms than its opponents thus far this season, 513-to-510, overtaking the battle on the glass for the first time since before the Kansas State matchup.
The win Friday improved the 49ers’ home record to 4-2 in 2013-14 and 28-10 during head coach Cara Consuegra’s three seasons.
Charlotte is 16-13 all-time in conference openers, including a 7-4 mark when the game is played at home. The Niners are 6-3 in the program’s history during initial home conference games played inside Halton Arena.
Old Dominion brings a 7-7 ledger into Wednesday’s meeting, having won its last contest, a 68-44 triumph over North Carolina Central Sunday. The Lady Monarchs are just 1-4 in away games and 1-2 in neutral-site tilts this season under third-year head coach Karen Barefoot.
Shae Kelley, one of eight Conference USA Preseason Players to Watch, leads ODU with averages of 16.4 points and 10.7 rebounds. She is the team’s only player to start all 14 games and is the only Lady Monarch with a double-figure average in either category.
Tiffany Minor is next in scoring at 8.8 per game, while Chelisa Painter places second on the squad with 5.1 rebounds per outing.
Old Dominion leads the all-time series 9-3, including wins in the first five matchups between the two programs. The 49ers earned a pair of wins in the early 1990s, closing out the Sun Belt-era contests, before adding a triumph in the last meeting played inside Halton Arena during the 2006-07 campaign. The two teams have met five times since breaking away from the Sun Belt following the 1990-91 season.
Wednesday’s contest will feature the return to the ESPN 730AM airwaves for the Charlotte program. Bobby Rosinski and Lanny Ford will handle the broadcast, while live video and live stats are available through Charlotte49ers.com. Updates will also be found on Twitter by following @49erGameDay.
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