|Change of direction sought in road trip finale|
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – After traveling west and north in the past two weeks, the Charlotte women’s basketball team will make its way south hunting for a win to snap its current two-game skid. The 49ers hit the road for the third-straight time, facing FGCU in Ft. Myers, Fla., at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN3.com.
Charlotte is 1-2 on the young season, picking up its lone victory in the season opener over Liberty Nov. 8. Since then, the Niners have started slow in both outings to fall on the road at Kansas State (Nov. 10) and Minnesota (Nov. 13).
Despite the not-so-likely beginning, redshirt junior Gabby Tyler paces the squad with a 10.3 scoring average in her return to the court after missing all of last season. She is coming off a career-high 16-point effort in last Wednesday’s matchup with the Golden Gophers and is the lone 49er with a double-digit points per game mark.
The balanced Charlotte offense also features a 9.3 ppg effort from freshman Lefty Webster, who also tallied a career best at Minnesota with her 11 points to lead all bench players. Webster’s 92.9 free throw percentage paces an all-around solid team showing at the charity stripe in the early going, as the Niners have connected on 62-of-78 (79.5 percent) as a collective unit.
Sophomore Alexis Alexander has hauled in a team-high 20 rebounds, including a career-best dozen at Minnesota. Her 12 caroms on the defensive glass edge out Tyler’s and Webster’s overall totals, which rank second on the squad.
Charlotte has been just as ferocious on the defensive end, swiping 24 steals to its opponents’ 11. The 49ers held Liberty without a steal in the opener on their way to garnering the 66-56 victory.
FGCU brings a 2-0 record into Wednesday’s meeting, opening the campaign with triumphs at FIU and at home against Bethune-Cookman. The Eagles reached the WNIT First Round a season ago.
Karl Smesko returns for his 12th season in charge of the program, which began when he took the reins.
Whitney Knight is the team’s leading scorer at 19.5 ppg. She is joined in double-figure scoring by Jenna Cobb, who averages 10.5 each time out.
Sarah Hansen is FGCU’s top rebounder at 9.5 per contest, followed by Knight with 6.0 rpg.
Wednesday’s game will mark the second in the series between the two schools, which began last year with Charlotte recording a 79-60 home victory Nov. 17, 2012. Highlighting the 49ers’ triumph was then-senior Jennifer Hailey joining the school’s 1,000-point club with a 20-point performance.
The game can be viewed on ESPN3.com, while live audio with Josh Feldman on the call and live stats are also available through links on Charlotte49ers.com. Updates will also be provided on Twitter by following @49erGameDay.
INSIDE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL