PHILADELPHIA - Charlotte erased an eight-point halftime
deficit and turned it into a five-point victory, knocking off previously
Atlantic 10 unbeaten Saint Joseph's, 71-66, Sunday afternoon at Michael J.
Hagan '85 Arena in Philadelphia Sunday afternoon. It marks the second-straight
Sunday in which the 49ers were the first loss for a conference foe.
Senior Jennifer Hailey, the two-time reigning A-10 Player of the Week, led the
charge with her eighth-straight double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds,
while tying the school's career blocked shots record with a pair of rejections.
Fellow senior Amanda Dowe added a double-double of her own with 19 points and
14 rebounds, also contributing a pair of blocks.
Chatilla van Grinsven paced the Hawks with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while
Erin Shields knocked down three 3-pointers among her 13 points. Natasha Cloud
added a dozen for Saint Joseph's.
The game opened with a high-intensity, fast-paced action that did not stop
except for two fouls during the opening 6:14 of the contest. During the scoring
frenzy, Hailey tallied the 49ers' first four buckets for eight points, helping
the squad build an 8-6 lead. However, Mirela Vila put the Hawks back on top
with the game's initial 3-pointer at 14:38 before adding another on the next Saint
Joseph's (16-6, 7-1 A-10) trip down the floor.
After her second triple gave the Hawks a 13-10 lead, the Niners battled back to
tally the next five, capped by a Sigmon trey at 13:13 and help force a 15-15
tie at the first media timeout, which did not come until the 12:46 mark.
Saint Joseph's turned the timeout into its favor, rattling off six straight,
including a pair from van Grinsven, and ending up with an 11-2 spurt to open a
26-17 cushion and forcing the second Charlotte (18-4, 7-1 A-10) timeout of the
period at the 8:37 mark.
It then became the Hammonds show, as she poured in eight-consecutive points for
the 49ers, to counter a better defensive effort, helping to bring Charlotte
within three at one point, 26-23. The Hawks would turn to van Grinsven for
three-straight field goals, expanding their lead back to nine, 32-23, before
Hammonds' final bucket in the run.
The Niners trimmed the deficit to five twice down the stretch, the last on a
Hammonds layup at 1:08, but a 4-1 Saint Joseph's half-closing streak put the
Hawks into the locker room ahead eight, 40-32.
The second period opened with Charlotte feeding the ball to its other post
presence, Dowe, for six-in-a-row and cutting the deficit to two, 40-38, and
forcing SJU into a timeout by the 18:07 mark. The lead would not go over four
during the next three minutes, as Forney buried a 3-pointer from the wing,
keeping the 49ers within one, 46-45.
After a Hammonds free throw tied it at 46-46, Sigmon went to the top-of-the-key
for a 3-pointer at 13:37, giving Charlotte its first lead since her trey at
13:13 of the first half. Alexis Alexander kept the Niners on top but Saint
Joseph's kept fighting, climbing back to a 55-55 deadlock on an old-fashioned
three-point play from Ashley Prim at 8:49.
The 49ers, however, continued to find Dowe down low and used another 3-pointer
out of Sigmon's hands to jump out to a 60-55 lead at the third media timeout,
with 7:09 remaining. Charlotte continued to torch the nets, adding buckets from
Forney and Hammonds, while Dowe added a pair of free throws at 4:18 to increase
the lead to a game-high 11, 66-55.
The Hawks made a run at trimming the margin to single digits, as Shields hit a
trey and Cloud added a layup to pull them within five, 67-62, with 2:36 left. A
pair of van Grinsven free throws cut it to three, 67-64, but the 49ers helped
ice it with charity tosses down the stretch, including a pair from Hammonds
with 12.8 seconds remaining.
Charlotte returns to action when it plays host to Atlantic 10 newcomer Butler
at 7 p.m. Wednesday inside Halton Arena. It will mark the first-ever meeting
between the two programs.