CHARLOTTE, N.C. –
Five intense weeks of preseason camp will be put to the test Saturday, as the Charlotte women’s basketball program plays host to cross-town foe Johnson C. Smith in an exhibition game at 2 p.m. inside Halton Arena. It will be the first contest of a 49ers basketball doubleheader, with the men’s team slated to face Wingate at approximately 4:30 p.m.
Charlotte enters 2013-14, its third under the direction of head coach Cara Consuegra
, with two starters and seven letterwinners returning from last year’s 26-6 WNIT Sweet 16 squad. The Niners will feature just one senior, guard Ny Hammonds
, among their youthful roster, but will also turn to junior guard Hillary Sigmon
and redshirt junior forward Gabby Tyler
to leadership in their captaincy roles.
Hammonds was an All-Atlantic 10 Third Team selection in 2012-13 after setting single-season program records for assists (209) and minutes played (1101). A candidate for the Nancy Lieberman Award, she placed eighth nationally with 6.7 assists per game.
Sigmon knocked down a career-high 67 3-pointers, leading the perimeter scoring. She joined Hammonds as two of the team’s four double-digit scorers for the season.
Tyler returns to the court this season after missing all of last year with an injury. Prior to her absence, she averaged 6.9 points per game through the 2011-12 campaign.
Joining them as veterans will be juniors Ayanna Holmes
and Olivia Rankin
, a pair of high school teammates that have continued to play together for the 49ers. The sophomore class is comprised of Alexis Alexander
, Tori Carter
and Kira Gordon
Five freshmen join the fray this season, including three from the Carolinas. Making their Charlotte debut in 2013-14 will be Tanisha Brown
, Meme Garner
, Ciara Gregory
, Kenya Olley
and Lefty Webster
Johnson C. Smith finished last year with an 8-18 overall mark and 5-11 ledger in the CIAA under the direction of Stephen Joyner Jr. He returns to the bench this season with a squad picked to place fourth in the league’s Southern Division and without the services of its only All-CIAA selection, graduated senior Brittany Dorsett.
In last year’s exhibition contest against the Golden Bulls, the 49ers earned an 85-36 victory as five players netted double-figure points. Hammonds distributed 11 assists in the win, as Charlotte connected on 59.3 percent of its field goal attempts.
Saturday’s game can be watched live on Charlotte49ers.com with Josh Feldman handling play-by-play duties. Feldman makes his return as the team’s primary broadcaster, as all home and away games this year will be heard on the school’s official website. Home games will also feature his call over live video at a subscription rate.
Updates throughout the game can also be found on Twitter by following @49erGameDay.