CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Senior Jennifer Hailey tallied 14 of her
game-high 20 points in the second half, reaching the 1,000-point milestone in
the process, to lead the Charlotte 49ers women's basketball team to a 79-60
victory over FGCU, an NCAA Tournament team from a year ago, Saturday evening
inside Halton Arena.
Hailey became the 20th member of the exclusive club in Niner history by hitting 8-of-12 field goals and 4-of-5 free throws to finish the night with an even 1,000 points. She also hauled in a game-best 11 rebounds for her third-straight double-double to start the season and the 23rd of her career.
Charlotte (3-0) has now opened the season with three-straight victories for the second-straight year, marking only the second time in school history that feat has been accomplished. The only other previous time was during the 1993-94 and 1994-95 campaigns under head coach Ed Baldwin.
All in all, the 49ers placed four players, all starters, in double-figure scoring. Amanda Dowe had a perfect night shooting, hitting 4-of-4 field goals and 4-of-4 free throws, while Ny Hammonds and Jai Forney also each collected 11 points to round out another balanced scoring attack which saw Charlotte convert a season-best 57.4 percent from the floor on a 27-of-47 performance.
Sarah Hansen guided the Eagles with 19 points, including knocking down all nine of her free throws, while Joyce Iamstrong contributed 11 points. Hansen led the mostly-guard lineup with six boards, although the 49ers were able to clean up on the glass, winning the battle 43-to-21.
Sigmon's corner 3-pointer at 18:50 ignited the Charlotte offense, although a Brittany Kennedy layup at 17:22 pulled FGCU (2-1) within one, 6-5, at the 17:22 mark. An 8-0 run, covering nearly the next three minutes, allowed the 49ers some breathing room. Forney and Sigmon each hit triples during the spurt and Hailey capped it with a layup at 14:53 to give her team a 14-5 advantage.
The difference remained single digits until Hammonds buried a shot from behind the arc to provide Charlotte with its first double-figure edge, 23-11, at 11:50. The lead remained in double digits the rest of the half, as the 49ers used an overall 12-2 surge, featuring another Hammonds jumper at 6:43, to build a 30-13 cushion.
Ayanna Holmes got her turn from behind the 3-point line, knocking down a triple at 5:03, to give Charlotte its first 20-point lead, 35-15. FGCU, however, trimmed the deficit to 13, on a 3-pointer of its own by Lerrin Cook, and Betsy Adams turned a late Niner turnover into another triple, right before the halftime buzzer, to send the teams into the locker rooms with Charlotte ahead, 40-28. It marked the third-straight game in which the 49ers have tallied at least 40 points in the opening period.
Following an old-fashioned three-point play by Hansen to begin the second stanza, cutting the gap to nine, 40-31, Charlotte answered with a 10-0 run to stretch the margin back to 19, 50-31, with 17:11 left. The rest of the second half was a back-and-forth affair, with the difference staying between 17 and 12, for the most part.
Every time the Eagles seemed to pull it close, the Niners would respond. Hansen sank a pair of free throws at the 3:42 mark, coming out of the final media timeout, but an 8-0 stretch during the next two minutes helped ice the contest. The last points of that run were two Hailey charity tosses at 1:40 to get her to the magical four-digit scoring plateau.
Charlotte will now take a week off before it plays again. The Niners will play host to Kansas State of the Big 12 at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24. It will be Military Appreciation Night for the 49ers, who will be facing their second Big 12 opponent in three games.
Charlotte Postgame Quotes vs. FGCU (11.17.12)
Head Coach Cara Consuegra
I think that was a very great win for us over a very good team. Florida Gulf Coast University was an NCAA tournament team last year, they're picked to win conference and they're going to win a lot of games. They play a unique style that was a big challenge for our team and I thought we stepped up and did a lot of things really well. We had to battle through diversity with Amanda (Dowe) being out with those two fouls in the first half, it was a tremendous performance. I thought everyone was able step up. We had some freshmen put in spots that they've never defended anybody like that. They've never played a team with players that can shoot, and drive, and do the things that they do, and I thought it was an absolute total team effort. Amanda came back in the second half and she was unbelievable. Jenn Hailey was unstoppable in the second half. She decided to post up, we gave her the ball and she took care of it. Again overall, the balance that we have with this team both in our scoring and defensive ability is just so fun to coach, and it's a privilege to coach a group of young ladies like this and I'm just really excited for them.
you talk about the style they play?
Like I said, it's very unique in that they play mostly all guard-like players, there isn't a true post. For us, having a lot of true posts in our lineup, it's just difficult because it puts them in a position that they're not used to being in. Our posts are so used to transition and running down the court and picking up in the lane. When they transition five out, they want to shoot 3s and they want to drive. It's not a lot of mid-range game. Plus with all the screening that they do, they do so many things to get you off balance. It takes so much defensive discipline to be where you're supposed to be and position with the ball, denying and being help. It's really tough to do over the course of the game. I thought for the most part we did okay. We really struggled on the flare-screen slip. We talked about it every media timeout. We just struggled staying in between the ball and the screen. That's really overall the only thing that continually hurt us.
the atmosphere of playing a double-header affect how you play?
I thought it was fabulous. I love playing doubleheaders. We were really excited about the opportunity. I thought the fans were great, particularly during the second half. It's great to see a big group of students. Niner Nation, they're always great. So, we always appreciate the opportunity to play for that kind of crowd.
three games, can you talk about where you guys are? Are you where you want to
I think so. We talk about it all the time, the season is a process. Obviously today, we're not where we want to be in March. I think with every game that we played, we've been able to be challenged in different ways, and I think that our team stepped up to that challenge. There was some carry over from the TCU game to this game and that's the transition defense. They were only able to make three 3s on us and they run to the spot on everybody. I know at least two of them were wide open mistakes that we made. That's a great carry over from Wednesday night when TCU was doing the same thing, and we kept giving them up over and over and over. Our team is just trying to get a little better every day, and I think if we continue to do that, we're going to be really happy with where we are in March.
Senior forward Jennifer Hailey
did their style affect the way you play? With so many little people buzzing
It didn't really affect me. Like coach said, it was kind of uncomfortable playing a team that runs five out instead of traditional transition. But it didn't really affect me as much but I had to adjust.