ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. - Charlotte grinded out a
hard-fought win Wednesday night in typical road Atlantic 10 action and a usual
battle in the series, handing St. Bonaventure a 64-57 defeat at the Reilly
Center in St. Bonaventure, N.Y. The triumph improved the 49ers' road record to
7-0 this season, including 3-0 in conference games.
Senior Jennifer Hailey, the reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Week, led
Charlotte with a double-double of 21 points and 13 rebounds, including 18
points in the second half. She also extended her consecutive games streak with
at least one blocked shot to 31.
Hillary Sigmon contributed 13 points, while Ny Hammonds poured in a dozen to
give the visitors a trio in double-figure scoring.
Nyla Rueter paced the Bonnies with 15 points, while Katie Healy and Doris
Ortega each recorded 14.
The Niners jumped out in front early thanks to its up-tempo offense, exploiting
the Bonnies lack of getting back on defense. Sigmon connected on an
old-fashioned three-point play at 18:47 before Amanda Dowe added a layup and
Hailey knocked in a free throw for an 8-2 cushion at 16:21 before SBU responded
with the next four points.
Hailey battled hard for the next 49ers basket at 13:59, increasing the lead
back to four, 10-6. Following a pair of Ortega free throws, the advantage
remained two possessions after Kira Gordon got her own rebound and put in a
tough five-footer for a 12-8 lead with 11:48 remaining.
The two teams then would trade baskets as Hammonds split the defense for a
layup through the middle and Alaina Walker hit a buzzer beater in the lane.
Three free throws and a Hammonds jumper extended the Charlotte (15-4, 4-1 A-10)
lead to nine, 19-10, by the 7:39 mark and the under-eight media timeout. Sigmon
drained a 3-pointer at 6:51 and Alexander and Gordon each chipped in a jumper,
giving the 49ers their first double-digit, 26-16, edge.
The Bonnies attempted to slice into the deficit pulling within six, 29-23, on a
5-0 run to the 1:25 mark, which featured three charity tosses and a layup from Rueter.
Hammonds finally ended the Niners lull with a jumper with just under a minute
to play but Healy knocked down a triple on the next St. Bonaventure (9-12, 2-4
A-10) possession to provide a 31-26 Charlotte halftime lead.
The second half opened with the two teams trading baskets back and forth.
Following a SBU miss, the Bonnies intercepted a 49ers clearing pass and turned
it into a 3-pointer from Emily Michael to pull within two, 35-33, and forcing
the Niners to call a timeout at 17:09.
Following the short break, Charlotte went straight to the low block and found
Hailey for another layup. Michael's earlier triple warmed the nets from long distance
for St. Bonaventure, as Rueter followed with one of her own. Just when the
momentum seemed to shift, Sigmon buried a 3-pointer of her own from the corner
right in front of the 49ers bench to silence the crowd.
The noise grew once again when Ashley Zahn dropped in a trey at 13:53 but it
only came after Hailey had tallied five straight for the Niners. Zahn's points,
however, would be the last from the field for the Bonnies for over seven
minutes as the Charlotte defense stepped to the plate.
Using the defense to catapult the offense into a scoring run, the 49ers rattled
off nine additional points, growing its lead back to double digits, 56-44,
entering the final six minutes. SBU was able to get its offense back in gear,
recording a half dozen in a row to pull within four, 56-52, and causing Rowe to
foul out with 3:48 to play.
Without a starter on the floor after the final media timeout, Charlotte used an
old-fashioned three-point play from Hailey and a dagger 3-pointer from the
right wing by Sigmon to push it to 62-53 at the 1:19 mark.
Healy scored two final field goals for the Bonnies but the 49ers secured
rebounds when they needed to and hit two final free throws to clinch the
victory and hold an opponent under 60 points for a school-record
Charlotte returns to action at 2 p.m. Sunday when it plays host to Duquesne
inside Halton Arena. The contest can be heard regionally on ESPN 730 AM with
Bobby Rosinski and Lanny Ford handling the radio broadcast.