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Shutdown defense carries 49ers to sixth straight
Courtesy: Charlotte Sports Information
          Release: 02/06/2013
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte did not allow a field goal for the final 12:21 and gave up just six more points, all at the foul line, in the next three minutes before shutting down Temple in the final stretch for a 66-43 victory Wednesday night in Atlantic 10 women's basketball action inside Halton Arena. The 49ers outscored the Owls 20-6 after their last made field goal and 12-0 in the ending 9:26 to clinch their sixth-straight win and pick up their first win in the series since the 2009 A-10 Tournament semifinals.

It marks the 10th-straight game in which an opponent has been held under 60 points, extending the school record. Foes have averaged only 49.8 points per game during the stretch.

Junior Ny Hammonds paced Charlotte (17-4, 6-1 A-10) with 16 points, while adding one-half of the team's 10 assists. Senior Amanda Dowe, who scored the Niners' first bucket for the first time all season, finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, while freshman Kira Gordon chipped in 10 points after hitting her first five field goal attempts.

Senior Jennifer Hailey, the two-time reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Week, contributed her seventh-straight double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. She battled through double and triple teams all night for her 16th double-double of the season and 36th of her career.

Victoria Macaulay paced the Owls with 15 points, tallying the team's final field goal before fouling out with 5:40 left and the 49ers on top, 56-43. Natasha Thames grabbed a Temple-best 15 boards, as the teams finished deadlocked on the glass, 39-39.

Following a tightly-contested opening 20 minutes, the Owls trimmed Charlotte's eight-point halftime cushion to five following a pair of Tyonna Williams jumpers to make it 34-29 with 17:36 remaining. The 49ers responded by mounting an 8-2 spurt during the next three-and-a-half minutes to claim their first double-digit lead at 11, 42-31.

Consecutive jumpers from Hammonds made it a 13-point difference, 46-33, with 13:17 to play, but four-straight Macaulay points brought Temple (10-12, 3-4 A-10) back within nine, 46-37, at 12:21. However, the Owls would not score again from the floor.

As the teams traded free throw opportunities over the course of the next three minutes, the 49ers' lead stayed in double digits and stood at 11, 54-43, when Rateska Brown hit a pair of charity tosses for the last Temple points of the evening with 9:26 to go.

Charlotte's defense clamped down on the Owls down the stretch, holding them to without any points on 11 field goals and two free throws, and causing six turnovers. The Niners were able to nearly empty the bench, ending the game with four freshmen and a sophomore on the floor as the final horn buzzed.

The opening period featured neither team owning more than a three-point edge until sophomore Hillary Sigmon drained a 3-pointer at 11:56 to give the 49ers a 13-9 lead. Macaulay's free throw at 9:26 helped Temple close within one, 15-14, but Sigmon buried another triple to push the advantage back to four with 8:35 remaining.

An old-fashioned three-point play from Hailey at 6:29 increased the margin to seven, 23-16, and it stayed a two-possession contest until Thames' layup at 5:17 cut it to three, 23-20. Gordon started and ended a 6-1 spurt, giving Charlotte an eight-point, 29-21, lead with 2:57 remaining.

The two teams then traded 4-0 runs with Gordon adding the final points of the half, including a 10-footer jumper in the lane with eight seconds left, to give the 49ers a 33-25 halftime edge.

Charlotte returns to the road when it makes its first trip of three this season to Philadelphia for its next contest. The Niners will play at Saint Joseph's at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Charlotte Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Cara Consuegra


Opening statement
I'm excited for our team in terms of this win and in terms of our defense. I thought tonight was a great display of a defense on our part. We have done good on defense over the last 10 games. You are able to see it in the way we play and the way we have been holding teams to their points scored and percentages. Tonight we were tremendous; we executed the scout defense almost perfectly. It was hard for them to score on us from what they were doing. They scored on us from offensive boards that we gave up and that was one of the areas that I was displeased with. I think we did not do a great job with rebounds and when we put them on the free throw line from fouls. The good thing about those things is that we can control that. We can be better boxing out and we can be better moving our feet so that we do not foul. Otherwise, we made it hard for them out there tonight. We want to be a team that imposes our will defensively. It was a great overall team effort. They were doubling Jenn tonight, and it was great for other players to step up tonight. I thought Amanda Dowe was great in the first half. It was great to see her back being aggressive offensively. I thought Kira Gordon was tremendous, she was 5-for-5 in the first half, able to hit those high post jumpers, that was clearly their game plan to give us. It was just a great thing about our team we are not just one person. Has Jennifer Hailey played great? Absolutely. But that is not all we are. We are a full team and it took a full team effort tonight.

On the defense playing well down the stretch
I look at the game one possession  at a time. We were locked in. They tried to make some adjustments to the way we played their ball screens so we made adjustments during our timeouts. Our team followed through on the game plan and did exactly what they were supposed to do. When we are completely focused, we are able to great things and it was showcased on the court tonight.

On Temple limiting Jenn Hailey's effectiveness
I told Jenn Hailey after the game that you have to be ready for tougher defense. There will be teams that will double-team you and you must be prepared. Even if all of the defense pressure is on Jennifer Hailey, we have other weapons on offense. I think this game proved it tonight. We have many other people who were scoring. We have ways to counter act the double teams and we did a good job with that tonight.

On what the next game brings
Saint Joseph's is going to be tough and it will be tough from here on out. We are going to play Saint Joseph's on its home court and it will be a heck of a challenge. Right now, we are playing our best basketball and it really is a good feeling and it is a rewarding feeling as a coach for my team to be playing their best ball in February. And we are going to stay on them. I know that are going to continue to keep working. We are still getting better. We are still continuing to improve and that is an exciting feeling. We welcome the challenge and I know that it is going to be a tough game, but I am certainly confident in my team.

On what defense has been doing lately to be successful
The way that we talk is our focal point. Talking to each other defensively will help each other through everything. It is not about one person; it is about team defense. How we play things, how we rotate, how we help each other. You are unable to play that way unless you are talking to each other directing each other. We have gotten much better at calling out the plays and recognizing plays. When Temple runs cross screen, down screen, we saw it and we were calling it out. Then, automatically, we know how to play the cross screen, down screen. We did not do that a month ago. Now you can hear it from our team and you see that, we jump the play before it happens.

On different defense looks from opponents this season
I think we have seen a variety of defenses. I think we have seen every single type of press, zones, a lot of man to man. Certainly, the way that they played us tonight, helping our inside game. That is the way I expect a lot of teams to play us for the rest of the year. It is a good thing. We have seen a lot of different things and we have worked on it. We have worked on Jenn being doubled and we have practiced it a lot. Even if we do not see that in the game we have worked on it. Tonight, we had not seen that type of game plan against us, but since we have seen it now, we are prepared for future games if a similar situation arises. I hope that it will propel us to more wins.

Freshman forward Kira Gordon

On what was working tonight
We practiced high post shots in practice and I just waited for my opportunity to show it off tonight.

On expectations of open shot because of double teams against Hailey
We know that people double-team Jenn because she is good, so we have practiced it before. I just took advantage of it tonight.

On what has been learned since the beginning of the season
Basketball is way more than skill, communication and hard work and a lot of stuff goes into it.

On difference between high school and college basketball
I've learned my role on the team. Coach told me what I needed to do and I took it from her and did exactly what I had to do.

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