INSIDE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
|Niners return to hardwood at Atlanta tournament|
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte 49ers women's basketball team will bring its four-game win streak, the longest of the season, into Atlanta this weekend when it competes in the GSU Holiday & Hoops Tournament Saturday and Sunday. The Niners begin tournament play at 4 p.m. Saturday against Toledo and then, depending on outcomes of first-day action, will face either Mississippi Valley State or host Georgia State at 2 or 4 p.m. Sunday.
Charlotte has won its last four games, including its most recent contest Dec. 21 against cross-county rival Davidson, 69-54. The 49ers' victory improved them to 8-2 this year under second-year head coach Cara Consuegra, one of the Top-11 starts through 10 games in program history.
Redshirt junior Jessica Johnson made her season debut against the Wildcats, her first action since the 2010-11 campaign due to injury. Sophomore Hillary Sigmon led the Niners with 13 points, her third-straight double-digit scoring performance. Freshman Kira Gordon added a career-best 12 points.
Seniors Jennifer Hailey and Amanda Dowe were the top-two rebounders with 14 and 12 boards, respectively. The pair continue to control the glass on the season, averaging 12.0 and 11.1 per game entering the weekend.
They also are Charlotte's two-top scorers with Hailey holding a slight 13.0-to-12.0 advantage. Classmate Jai Forney joins the duo with 10.3 per game.
Junior Ny Hammonds, who has led the country in assists per game the entire season thus far, was recently named as one of the Players Making the Buzz for the Nancy Lieberman Award, which is presented at the end of the year to the nation's top point guard.
The 49ers open up tournament play against the Toledo Rockets of the Mid-American Conference. Toledo owns a 10-1 ledger entering the event, having claimed the Toledo Invite last week, its third tournament title already this year. The two wins in the home tournament gave the Rockets nine straight before facing the Niners Saturday.
Naama Shafir guides Tricia Cullop's squad with 13.3 points per game, while Andola Dortch joins her in double figures with 11.0. Yolanda Richardson is the team's top rebounder at 6.7 per contest.
The Rockets have defeated Charlotte in two previous meetings, most recently in the 2011 WNIT Semifinals. The only other time the two teams have faced each other came in the 1990 WNIT, the first postseason appearance in 49ers history.
Mississippi Valley State brings a 3-6 mark into the tournament, having dropped a 99-42 decision at Arkansas in its most recent outing.
Alia Frank paces the Elvis Robinson-coached Delta Devilettes with 12.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
Should the 49ers face Mississippi Valley State, it would mark the first meeting between the two schools.
Host Georgia State is 7-2 on the campaign before hosting the tournament at the GSU Sports Arena. The Panthers, under the guidance of Sharon Baldwin-Tener, have won their last two games, defeating Morehead State and Western Carolina.
Kayla Nolan holds a slight scoring lead over Kendra Long, 11.2-to-10.1, while Cody Paulk hauls in a team-high 8.6 rebounds per game.
Charlotte and Georgia State have played nine times throughout the programs' history but not since a 74-61 49ers triumph in 1988 at the season-opening Southern Invitational in Atlanta.
The entire tournament heard on Charlotte49ers.com with AJ Mead returning for a two-game fill-in at his old play-by-play post. Live stats are also available and in-game updates can be found on Twitter by following @49erGameDay.