CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte played one of its best
all-around Atlantic 10 games of the young conference season Sunday afternoon,
dominating the rebounds and using a strong defensive effort to hand visiting
Duquesne its first league loss of the campaign, 63-54, inside Halton Arena. The
49ers moved into a three-way tie for schools with only one A-10 setback with
its season-high fifth-straight victory.
Charlotte (16-4, 5-1 A-10) grabbed its third highest total on the glass with 49 caroms, setting a new single-game Atlantic 10 best for this season. The Niners pulled down 25 boards in the second half and used the 49 overall rebounds for 17 second-chance points. The team's collective effort helped limit the Dukes to 32 boards.
The 49ers extended their school record streak to nine-straight games with an opponent tallying 60 points or less. The run includes all six games in A-10 action.
Leading the way for the Niners was reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Week Jennifer Hailey, who reached 20 points for the fourth-straight contest. She posted 20 points and a career-high tying 17 rebounds for her 15th double-double of the season and 35th in her career. She has a double-double in all half dozen league contests.
Amanda Dowe, while pouring in just four points, was a key factor on the glass, yanking in a season-best 18 rebounds, giving the 49ers pair more than the entire Duquesne (17-4, 6-1 A-10) team.
Hillary Sigmon chipped in 16 points, including four 3-pointers, while Ny Hammonds added 10 points and eight assists in playing the full 40 minutes for just the second time in her career. Ayanna Holmes came off the bench to contribute a season-high tying 11 points, one shy of her career best.
Wumi Agunbiade and Vanessa Abel paced the Dukes with 13 points apiece with Stasia King grabbing a team-best eight boards off the bench. Jocelyn Floyd, the nation's top steals producer, was limited to just two swipes as she was saddled with foul trouble throughout the contest.
After the game was tied at the intermission, Charlotte came out in the second half with key adjustments to pull away late. The 49ers went straight to Hailey before Sigmon dropped in her second triple on back-to-back possessions to quickly mount a five-point lead, 31-26, in the stanza's first two minutes. The cushion gave Charlotte the advantage, one it would not relinquish the remainder of the game.
Duquesne hung tough, however, keeping the margin no higher than five and three times slicing it to two, the last on a Belma Nurkic layup at 15:15 for a 37-35 Niners edge. Following the media timeout, Sigmon drained another triple before Kira Gordon added a layup and Hammonds knocked down a jumper as a 7-0 49ers run lasted nearly four minutes, extending the advantage to nine, 44-35.
Agunbiade started a 5-0 Dukes spurt with consecutive buckets, but after the gap closed to four, Sigmon hit another from 3-point territory to keep it at seven, 47-40, with 9:54 to play. Floyd would convert a pair of free throws before Holmes scored the next five points by herself to give Charlotte its first double-digit margin, 52-42, with exactly eight minutes remaining.
Duquesne would bring its deficit to five three times down the stretch, the last on an Abel jumper at 1:02 for a 57-52 score, but could get no closer. The final half dozen points for the 49ers were all at the charity stripe, as they clinched their first win over the Dukes since the 2009 A-10 Tournament inside Halton Arena.
The first half was a nip-and-tuck affair featuring seven ties and neither team owning more than a four-point edge. Duquesne held the first two-possession lead, 20-16, following a King layup with 4:10 left but an 8-0 Charlotte surge gave it its first four-point advantage, 24-20. The run began and ended with layups from Dowe.
An old-fashioned three-point play from Ahjah Hall at 1:45 trimmed the gap to a single point. Holmes hit one last jumper for the 49ers before Abel connected on a 3-pointer with 37 seconds to go to send the teams into the locker room tied, 26-26.
It marked the first halftime tie of the season for Charlotte and only the second under head coach Cara Consuegra. The 49ers have now won both of those contests.
Charlotte returns to action when it plays host to Temple at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The contest can be viewed live on Charlotte49ers.com with Josh Feldman returning to the broadcast booth as play-by-play.
Charlotte vs. Duquesne Postgame Quotes
Head coach Cara Consuegra
Obviously, a really great win for our team. We talked about before the game we needed a signature win which we haven't been able to do this year. Playing Duquesne, one of the top teams in our conference, coming in with a 17-3 record and high RPI, this was a great opportunity for us and we really took that to heart and played really well. I think the overall thing I need to point out is the halftime adjustments were great, not to say we played a stellar first half. We weren't happy with our first 20 minutes. We went into halftime and talked about things that we needed to be better at. First thing was turnovers, we had 13 turnovers in the first half. We came out in the second half and only committed six. So they were only able to score two points of our turnovers in the second half. The other thing we really were not pleased with at the halftime was our rebounding. We had given up 11 offensive boards in the first half. I mean that is the type of team they are. They board as well as we do. We came out in the second half boxed out and we held them to three offensive boards in the second half. That enabled us to get our transition game going and to play more at our pace, and when we play at our pace we can be a really good team. Jennifer and Amanda were absolutely amazing on the boards tonight finishing 18 and 17, and I was really proud of Ayanna Holmes coming off the bench she played key minutes for us. She went 4-of-4 with free throws down the stretch. She knocked some great shots down, and everybody who got in tonight did a great job. That's the big thing about our team. We are really unselfish, we play hard, and it's not about one person. It's about everybody. When you have a team like that it's really fun coaching.
impact of game across the Atlantic 10
I don't know. That's a good question. We just talked about us controlling our own destiny at this point. You know there's still a long way to go, but getting this win puts us in a really good position. Now we have the ability to control that destiny with what we do the rest of the way. It's obviously not going to get any easier we have a tough stretch coming up right now with Temple, Butler and Saint Joseph's, so those next few games will be just as key as this game. This certainly was an exciting win for us.
more detail about halftime adjustments
I think it was a combination of things. I think one was we were just a bit careless with the ball. I mean I don't think they forced us out of those turnovers some of them yes. Some of it was balls going through our hands, getting the ball ripped out of our hands, just not being strong with the ball. So we talked about being more aggressive, being more strong with the ball and being sure of where our passes were going to go. Then the biggest thing we talked about over two days of studying film was getting into our pace. They do such a good job slowing you down. If you start your offense with 17, 16, 15 left on the shot clock it makes it tough for any offense to get set up. Again I think we did a better job in the second half starting the offense with more time left on the shot clock which allowed us to set up our offense and get better shots.
holding a big rebounding advantage
The biggest thing is we are a great rebounding team. I just think we weren't focused in on boxing out in the first half. I mean we were able to get 11 offensive boards in the first half. So offensively we were doing fine defensively we just weren't getting back to our people and getting a body on them. That was something again that we talked about in our prep for them. It was really just about getting us refocused and reminding the team it's important to win the game and they did it.
impact of Sigmon playing well as of late
I mean it's important for us. Hillary brings an element to our team that no one brings as in her ability to consistently hit the long shot. It's certainly important for a team like Duquesne to have a pack the paint mentality. I mean we knew they were going to pack the paint forcing us to shoot shots. We knew Hillary was going to get those shots. She did such a good job that in the second half that it pulled them out of their zone and forced them into man to man. I mean she did a great job; our team did a great job finding her. I mean again I think it just goes to the unselfishness of this team. People knowing their roles, what's important for them and Hillary knows that's her role so we find her and she does a good job at it.
taking a charge and what that meant to the program
I mean I did smile which I know I don't do much of that. We have urged Ny to take a charge her entire career that I've been with her for two years. She does not do it in practice. She does not ever do it. She has a lot of opportunities because she's our safety in transition defense. So when she took that charge, it was a great moment for me, and our staff and our team. Because I think the team was pretty excited about it as well. Now the problem is that we can tell her that you can do it, Ny.
Senior forward Jennifer Hailey
team's rebounding efforts
Well that one of our things we all battle for, rebounding. Coach she always gets on us about rebounding which plays a big role in a game because it could be a position or something. I mean, we mainly focus on rebounding. I know I do. I was struggling out there tonight but coach got on us and I didn't have a choice. I had to pick it up.
more pride in 20 points or 17 rebounds
I'll take the rebounds.
Amanda helping out with 18 rebounds
It does. Me and Slim, my teammates pick on us because we pass the ball to each other. It's just something that we do. We both sometimes end up going up for the same rebounds. I mean I love rebounding with Amanda.
how much fun it is playing with Amanda
It's real fun. She sometimes gets down but I remind her to stay up.
how big of a win this is for the team
This win was a real big win for our team. Everybody on the team was excited when we got our lead, but we knew we had to keep it. This game was a big opportunity for us and we took it.
defense stepping up lately and playing better
It is mainly about talking to each other. Coach always tells us in practice about talking to each other and the importance of it. Once we talk, it distracts the offensive team. But to be honest it's mainly just talking to each other.