CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte started strong then relied on
its defense, holding Colgate without a point in the final 10:13, to pull away
for a 57-33 victory Sunday afternoon in the final non-conference women's
basketball contest of the regular-season campaign.
The 49ers placed just two players in double-figure scoring but Amanda Dowe netted her second straight, seventh of the season and 15th of her career double-double with game-highs of 17 points and 12 rebounds.
She was joined by classmate Jennifer Hailey, who poured in 13 points on 6-of-10 from the field, while extending her consecutive games streak with at least one blocked shot to 26.
Jhazmine Lynch paced the Raiders with 15 points, the lone player above double figures. Kelly Reid hauled in nine rebounds, one more than Lulu Braze's eight, as Colgate won the rebounding battle, 44-to-38, to become just the second opponent this season to out-duel the Niners on the glass.
With the difference in single digits and Charlotte ahead, 40-31, sophomore Ayanna Holmes buried a 3-pointer from the left wing to make it a 12-point cushion. Dowe and Lynch would then trade baskets on ensuing possessions as the second stanza reached its halfway point.
However, Lynch's jumper at 10:13 would be the final points for the visitors. Colgate would not convert on its last 12 attempts from the field and zero shots at the foul line, as the 49ers surrendered the third fewest points in school history and the second lowest by an opponent this season.
The Raiders also were forced into 30 turnovers, the highest by an opposing team under head coach Cara Consuegra, while shooting just 26.0 percent, which is just shy of the Consuegra-era record of 25.8 percent shot by North Carolina Central Nov. 10.
Charlotte started quickly by going to the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week, Hailey, for the game's first six points. Her quick half dozen resulted in a Colgate timeout just 1:19 into the contest and helped to give the 49ers a lead they not relinquish in a start-to-finish victory.
Hailey's layup at 15:21 made it an eight-point different, 10-2, but the Raiders responded with a 5-0 surge, all by Lynch, including a 3-pointer, during the next 49 seconds.
After a series of misses down low and a near tie-up, Dowe looked outside where she located sophomore Hillary Sigmon waiting behind the arc. Sigmon caught and released the ball in one motion, hitting the triple to give her at least one 3-pointer in eight-straight contests and extending the team streak to 60-consecutive games. It pushed the Niners cushion to nine, 17-8, at the 10:41 mark.
Junior Ny Hammonds gave Charlotte (11-3) its first double-digit lead with a short jumper just outside the key with 7:02 left. It would be part of an 8-0 stretch in which the 49ers expanded their edge to 15, 25-10, before Lynch hit another one from 3-point territory at 4:56 to end the Raiders lull.
Colgate (6-8) cut the lead down to single digits, 27-18, by 1:38 left thanks to a Catherine Lewis trey. However, Charlotte would end the half by scoring the final six points, including a buzzer beater from freshman Alexis Alexander to hold a 33-18 halftime advantage.
The Raiders started the second frame quickly with a 3-pointer from Mariah Jones just nine seconds into the stanza. However, the Niners were able to ride the back of Dowe for five straight to push the cushion back to 15, 38-23, with 16:48 to play. A 6-0 Raiders run brought the score to single digits before the Charlotte defense turned up the heat.
The 49ers will return to action when they open Atlantic 10 action at 2 p.m. Sunday by playing host to Fordham inside Halton Arena. The contest will be a national TV broadcast on CBS Sports Network with John Sadak handling play-by-play and Julianne Viani as the color analyst.
Charlotte Postgame Quotes vs. Colgate (1.6.13)
Head Coach Cara Consuegra
I think I certainly have to point out our defensive effort. I am really proud of my team to hold them to 33 total points. The Raiders scored only 15 of those points in the 2nd half. We forced them to 30 turnovers. It was just an incredible defensive effort for our team. It is been no surprise but I have been all over my team on getting better defensively. We are a great offensive team at times but sometimes on defense we tend to slack off. Our coaching staff has been all over our players. We had two great days of practice probably the best defense we've played in practice carried over into today's game. As we move forward going into the A-10, it is essential for us to play better defense. If we can have that type of effort from today, we are going to do a really good job. Amanda Dowe was awesome today, finishing with a double-double but she was relentless on the boards. Dowe attacked mismatches that she had and just really carried us and I am proud of her effort as well today.
the defensive effort
I think it is started first with our intensity. I think you saw us in a better stance at the line and deflections. A lot of times we just do not stay that discipline for 40 minutes. To hold them to less points in the second half than the first half, we have never done that. Again, that comes with the players starting to buy in. We started to talk about the A-10 statistics if you look at them. We are top three in a lot of categories offensively. If you look at us defensively, we are near the bottom and that is not going to cut it. The more that we talk about it they are starting to figure it out.
reasons for strong defensive play lately
It is not a preparation issue. It is just a matter of being discipline. Keeping our opponents in front of us is a problem. A lot of times we go for steals and get out of position when we do not have to. I thought we did a better job not running under stuff and keeping people in front of us. We were forcing them to take tough shots. When we are able to do that we can be pretty good.
whether Saturday's practice help with the game today
We really did not do much different except putting them on the line. Also making them run for their mistakes. We have been harping on them with being better defensively. More than not, we are holding them accountable. We are holding them to a high level of accountability because now it is do or die. We are moving into conference play and there are not a lot of practices available for them to get better. There will be a lot of game preparations. There will not be a lot of time for sharpening of skills. I think that they are starting to get the message and starting to understand how important it is.