CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball team will enter the postseason for the 11th-straight campaign when it plays host to in-state foe Appalachian State at 7 p.m. Thursday in the WNIT First Round inside Halton Arena.
The Niners bring a 24-5 record into the contest, which marks the 12th overall postseason appearance in school history. Charlotte is one of just 12 schools nationally to participate in either the NCAA or WNIT in each of the last 11 years and the lone non-BCS program on the elite list.
In their previous nine showings in the WNIT, the 49ers have accumulated a 10-9 record, including a 4-1 mark on the way to the 2011 semifinals. This year’s WNIT berth is the fourth straight for the team, one shy of the school-record run between 2004-08.
Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Jennifer Hailey leads Charlotte with 15.0 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. She became just the second conference player of the year winner in program history after leading the Niners to a 13-1 A-10 mark in their final campaign in the league.
She was joined in double-double averages by Amanda Dowe, an All-Atlantic 10 Third Team pick. Dowe added 10.8 points and 11.6 rebounds per contest, giving the 49ers two of just 36 players nationally to average double-double.
Ny Hammonds, another All-Atlantic 10 Third Team honoree, rounds out the trio in double-figure scoring with a 10.3 per game clip. She has handed out 187 assists, a single-season school record and nearly two-and-a-half times more than her next closest teammate.
In addition to Hailey and Dowe, Jai Forney will be makes her final trip to the postseason in 2012-13. She adds 9.8 points and 4.0 rebounds a game, while being one of four Charlotte players to start all 29 games.
Another primary starter is Hillary Sigmon, who has connected on a team-high 61 3-pointers with a 38.1 conversion rate. Sigmon scores an average of 9.7 points per game, rounding out the balanced offensive attack for head coach Cara Consuegra.
Appalachian State owns a 20-10 overall record entering its fourth WNIT, which includes advancing to the 2011 Sweet Sixteen. The Mountaineers, coached by fifth-year head coach Darcie Vincent, placed fourth in the Southern Conference during the 2012-13 campaign.
Three App State players average double-figure scoring, led by Anna Freeman’s 16.4 mark. Freeman is also the team’s top rebounder with 8.8 boards per contest.
Thursday’s contest will be the 20th all-time between the two programs. The 49ers have won the last five meetings, extending their series lead to 15-4. Charlotte picked up a 74-57 victory Nov. 20, 2009, in Boone, N.C., in the last matchup.
All the action will be available on Charlotte49ers.com with Josh Feldman handling the play-by-play duties for the free video webstream. Live stats are also connected through the website, while in-game updates can be found on Twitter by following @49erGameDay.