CHARLOTTE, N.C. –
Charlotte women’s basketball will face its biggest challenge yet as a Conference USA member, facing preseason league favorite and current conference leader Middle Tennessee at 4 p.m. EST Saturday in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The contest will be televised as part of the league’s broadcast schedule and be shown locally in the Queen City on SportSouth.
The 49ers enter the matchup with a 12-12 overall and 6-5 C-USA ledger, coming off a 74-63 victory over Florida Atlantic Wednesday night. The win improved the Niners’ Halton Arena record to 8-4 this season with two games remaining on their home floor, both next week.
An all-around team performance carried Charlotte to the mid-week triumph, as the squad shot a collective 50.8 percent from the floor. It marked the second time this season in which the 49ers converted at least one-half of their shots.
Charlotte also dominated the glass, grabbing a season-best 57 rebounds and holding the Owls to just 29 caroms. The 57 boards are the third highest during head coach Cara Consuegra
’s tenure, while the 28-rebound margin marks the second largest in her three seasons in charge of the Niners program.
Three players scored double-figure points, while three hauled in double-digit rebounds. Only one player, freshman Lefty Webster
, was able to do both, as she finished with her first double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds, setting career highs in both categories. She also contributed four blocked shots and three assists in 34 minutes.
Joining Webster with double-figure points were senior Ny Hammonds
, who also tallied 18, and junior Ayanna Holmes
with 12. Holmes reached the plateau for the first time in over two months.
Redshirt junior Gabby Tyler
and sophomore Kira Gordon
each registered 10 rebounds, providing Charlotte with a trio with double figures on the glass for the first time since against Furman Jan. 3, 2012.
On the season, Tyler paces the 49ers with 12.1 points and 7.8 boards. Hammonds (11.9 ppg), Gordon (10.9) and junior Hillary Sigmon
(10.2) also post double-figure scoring averages entering Saturday.
Gordon is next behind Tyler on the boards, grabbing 6.7 caroms per outing with sophomore Alexis Alexander
(5.7) trailing in the third.
Middle Tennessee owns a 22-4 overall and 11-1 Conference USA mark through its 75-36 triumph over Marshall Wednesday night. The Blue Raiders, under the direction of head coach Rick Insell, have been victorious in 21 of their last 22 contests, including a 17-game win streak after a 1-3 start to the campaign.
All-America candidate and Academic All-American Ebony Rowe paces MT with 21.5 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. She is the only Blue Raider to average double figures in both categories and is the school’s career scoring and rebounding leader.
Senior classmate KeKe Stewart is next with 9.5 points each time out, while freshman Olivia Jones ranks second on the squad with 7.0 rebounds per outing.
Ron Thulin and Stephanie Ready will have all the action live on SportSouth as the play-by-play and color analyst, respectively.
Josh Feldman will also call the play-by-play for the Charlotte49ers.com audio feed with live stats linked through the website. No live video through the internet is available due to the television broadcast. Updates will also be available on Twitter by following @49erGameDay.