CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte’s early shooting matched the temperatures outside on a cold night in the Queen City, but the 49ers never quit and showed enough resolve to mount a 63-60 come-from-behind victory over previously unbeaten Winthrop Tuesday night inside Halton Arena. The thrilling triumph marked the first time this season the Niners won after trailing at the half and kept the program unbeaten at home with a 3-0 ledger in 2013-14.
Charlotte placed four players in double-figure scoring, another balanced attack, as junior Hillary Sigmon and sophomore Kira Gordon paced the squad with 12 points apiece. Senior Ny Hammonds chipped in 10 points, while freshman Lefty Webster also contributed 10.
Redshirt junior Gabby Tyler hauled in nine rebounds, tying her season best, while Hammonds dished out eight assists. Three different players hit multiple 3-pointers, including a career-high two from freshman Ciara Gregory.
The Eagles’ Dequesha McClanahan led all scorers with 26 points to go along with her eight rebounds and seven assists. The frustrating 49ers defense also forced her into seven turnovers.
Schaquilla Nunn tallied a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Taylor Calvert paced Winthrop (4-1) with a dozen caroms.
Charlotte found itself down by 13 points twice in the opening period, including a 25-12 with 5:23 left in the half. The 49ers then kick-started their rally with a pair of Gordon free throws. It was the beginning of a 15-6 run to close the stanza, as back-to-back triples from Gregory and Webster forced a timeout at 2:40 as Charlotte (3-3) trimmed the gap to five, 27-22.
Hammonds converted a layup following an Eagles shot-clock violation, one of three in the game, and another Gregory trifecta at 1:14 cut the gap to a single digit, 28-27. Three-straight Winthrop points settled the halftime margin at four, 31-27.
The Eagles continued to stay on top in the early minutes of the second session, pushing it back out to as high as seven, 39-32, on a Nunn layup with 14:31 to play. The Niners tallied an 8-0 surge over the next 3:20, using a Lefty Webster seven-footer along the baseline to claim their first lead, 40-39, since the 18:46 mark of the opening half.
Nunn answered right back but a Sigmon trey put Charlotte ahead to stay, 43-31, at the 11:00 mark. The lead swelled to six, 47-41, and the 49ers kept Winthrop off the board until a McClanahan layup with 8:22 remaining.
Sigmon countered the mini-surge with her second 3-pointer, at 8:10, to provide the Niners with a seven-point cushion, 50-43. Charlotte’s advantage grew to as much as eight on two occasions, the last at 3:56 on a Gordon jumper for a 59-51 score.
Seven-straight Eagles points, including an old-fashioned three-point play from McClanahan at 1:26, cut the gap to one, 59-58. Following a Winthrop timeout, Hammonds hit a jumper and the 49ers defense forced three missed opportunities over the next 50 seconds before Tyler secured a defensive rebound.
Sigmon dropped in two free throws with 11 seconds left, including a timeout called in-between, to ice the victory and give Charlotte its second-straight win over an unbeaten foe.
The Niners had started the contest 4-of-25 from the floor, a dismal 16.0 percent, as the Eagles built their 13-point difference. Winthrop went 10-of-22 during the same opening 14:37 stretch, featuring seven from McClanahan and six each by Samiya Wright and Pamela Decheva.
Charlotte will take its .500 record onto the road for an in-season tournament, the Lady Rebel Round-Up, this weekend in Las Vegas. The 49ers open the two-day event at 6:30 p.m. EST against former Conference USA foe Cincinnati and then will play either former Atlantic 10 opponent Fordham or host UNLV.
All games from the Lady Rebel Round-Up can be heard online at Charlotte49ers.com with Josh Feldman handling play-by-play duties. Live stats and video for the contests will be available through links on the website, while updates can also be found on Twitter by following @49erGameDay.
Charlotte Postgame Quotes vs. Winthrop
Head Coach Cara Consuegra
We were not playing strong in the first half. We do not expect that from our players. We had to keep battling through the adversity and keep shooting. The character of our team is not one that gives up or gives in. On the other hand, Winthrop came in tough and ready to play. Down the stretch we started to pick up momentum and started playing tough. You have to remember, we are still a young team, we have our difficulties at times, but we need to strive to be consistent and move forward.
On halftime adjustments
We, for whatever reason, just do not come out in the first half with the urgency to play but we talked about that as a team and we said we need to come out with a greater urgency on both sides of the ball than in the first half. During the half, we talked about it and came out strong defensively and offensively played well against their zone. They came out and played with confidence and as a coach, all I can do is challenge them.
On post play this season
The minutes that the post players this year are playing is completely different from the minutes they played last year. With that being said, it takes some time to adjust to the amount of playtime they are getting and to develop the chemistry between the post players. We’re still working on it and we will improve on it. It will just take some time. They are great players and I feel that they will do a phenomenal job it will just take some time.
On confidence with back-to-back wins
Any time you can win, and win at home, it just builds your confidence. It is good for the team to win this game where we did not play well. The game tonight we did not play well but we found a way to win. We overcame adversity and came out with the win and that a real positive that we have to pull out of this game.
Redshirt junior Gabby Tyler
On what she was facing out on the floor
I did not think it was their offense that was giving us trouble. It was just us. I do not think we came in focused and ready to rebound. I do not think it was their offense it was more so our lack of urgency.
On improving her game from tonight
I realize that I did not make some shots today. I gotta get back to work and just come back better.
On preparing for Las Vegas trip
We have to go in focused and remember it is a business trip, keep our heads in the game and just play strong once we get there.
Junior Hillary Sigmon
On halftime adjustments
Well the players coming off the bench really sparked our shooting. A shoutout to ‘C’ (Ciara Gregory) and Lefty for coming out and sparking the offense.
On the bench contributions
I know that they need to come off the bench and bring energy. That is what we need. I know that I need that sometimes for a fact.