|Niners prep for Education Day against Eagles|
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte women's basketball team will begin the 2013 calendar with a rare Noon tip, when it welcomes Coppin State to Halton Arena for Education Day Thursday. It marks the first of four home contests among the Niners' first five games to open the new year.
Students and chaperones totaling 4,329 from the greater Charlotte region, including Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Gaston Counties in North Carolina and York County in South Carolina will participate in the annual community day with the 49ers. Inflatables and guest speakers will be on-hand prior to the Charlotte game starting midday.
The 49ers enter the game with a 9-3 record and having picked up a win in five of their last six games following play at the GSU Holiday & Hoops Tournament in Atlanta over the weekend. Charlotte split its two contests at the event, falling to Toledo but defeating Mississippi Valley State.
Senior Jennifer Hailey led the way and earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors for the first time in her career in the process. She brings team-leading averages of 14.3 points and 11.6 rebounds into Thursday's meeting.
She has also registered at least one blocked shot in 24 consecutive games and has moved within 29 of tying the school's career record of 207, set by Adrienne Jordan (1998, 2000-02).
Hailey was one of Niners on the all-tournament team. She was joined by sophomore Hillary Sigmon, who has tallied double-figure points in five-straight games. Sigmon is currently third on the team with 10.4 points per game, while dropping in a program-best 25 3-pointers and 14-of-16 free throws.
Placing second in scoring and rebounding is senior Amanda Dowe. She trails Hailey in both categories with averages of 11.1 points and 11.4 rebounds.
Senior Jai Forney gives Charlotte four players in double-figure scoring with her 10.3 average. On the cusp of a double-digit scoring average is the team's other starter, junior Ny Hammonds at 9.5 points per game. Hammonds continues to top the country in assists with 7.8 per game, ranking as the nation's leader for all five reporting periods thus far.
Coppin State has garnered just one win in its last eight tries entering Thursday to own a 4-9 record. The Eagles, who compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, are coming off back-to-back setbacks on the road at Arkansas and Missouri State.
The lone victory in the recent stretch was at home against Robert Morris, 59-52, Dec. 21. Coppin State is 0-8 away from its home arena in Baltimore this season.
Kyra Coleman paces Derek Brown's-coached squad with 13.0 points per game. She is joined in double-figure scoring by Leola Spotwood (12.7 ppg) and Shawntae Payne (10.1). Spotwood is the team's top rebounder with 8.8 rebounds per contest.
The two teams have met only once previously, a 63-52 Niners triumph, Dec. 29, 1995, in the Mister Cookie Face Holiday Classic in Jersey City, N.J.
The game can be viewed live on Charlotte49ers.TV with Josh Feldman returning to play-by-play duties. Live stats will be available on Charlotte49ers.com and updates can also be found on Twitter by following @49erGameDay.
INSIDE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL