CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte women’s basketball will honor its past while raising awareness for breast cancer Saturday when it plays host to Southern Miss in a local WCCB-TV broadcast at 7 p.m. Saturday inside Halton Arena. The 49ers renew their series with the Lady Eagles by wearing special pink uniforms in the annual Play 4Kay contest on Alumnae Night.
Charlotte, who has played just once in the last two weeks due to travel complications of getting to Birmingham to face UAB Jan. 29, owns a 10-10 overall and 4-3 Conference USA record entering Saturday’s meeting. The 49ers only time on the hardwood during a 14-day period has been at East Carolina, last Saturday, in a tough 71-62 setback to the Pirates.
Despite the loss, which featured a 15-point outing from sophomore Kira Gordon and a career-high 14 points by freshman Lefty Webster, four Niners are averaging in double figures. Senior Ny Hammonds and redshirt junior Gabby Tyler each lead the way with 11.9 points per game.
Hammonds has also moved into a tie for second on the school’s career assists list with 430, needing just 13 more to break the all-time mark. By reaching the century mark this year, she is one of just three players in program history to register at least 100 assists in three years, joining Sakellie Daniels and Kendria Holmes.
Joining the pair is Gordon with 11.4 and junior Hillary Sigmon with her 10.3 average to give head coach Cara Consuegra a well-balanced offensive look.
Tyler is also the top 49er on the glass, hauling in an average of 7.4 boards per contest. Gordon is next with 6.5 per game followed by sophomore Alexis Alexander’s 5.7 mark.
Southern Miss, under the direction of 10th-year head coach Joye Lee-McNelis, is slightly ahead of Charlotte in the league standings with its 5-3 conference ledger. The Lady Eagles are 16-5 overall and have won their last three, including an upset over No. 21/25 Middle Tennessee, the Conference USA leader, Wednesday night at home.
Southern Miss’ current three-game run started with an overtime home victory over East Carolina, which marked the third-straight time it had played an extra period.
Jamierra Faulkner, a preseason All-Conference USA selection, is the Lady Eagles’ most dangerous offensive threat with her 16.0 points per game. She also tops the nation with 8.4 assists per game.
Tamara Jones and Jerontay Clemons join Faulkner as double-digit scorers, pouring in 14.0 and 11.6 points per game, respectively.
Jones hauls in a team-high 6.3 caroms per contest, though, Clemons (5.4) and Kierra Jordan (5.2) are also above the five-rebounds per game mark.
Southern Miss owns an all-time 17-4 lead in the series, which dates back to when the two programs faced each other during the Metro Conference and the 49ers’ first stint in Conference USA. Charlotte has won the last four meetings, including a non-conference tilt inside Halton Arena in 2009.
WCCB-TV will broadcast the game locally with Josh Feldman sliding over from his radio play-by-play duties to handle the TV play-by-play spot. Jeff Zell will join him as the color analyst and the network’s Sean Bell will be on-hand as sideline reporter.
ESPN 730 AM again will broadcast the contest with Bobby Rosinski and Lanny Ford returning to the call as the play-by-play and color analyst, respectively.
At halftime, the Charlotte women’s basketball program will honor its alumnae with over 30 former players and managers due back in attendance. It is also free Youth Night with fans ages 17 and under admitted free.
The 49ers will also award a pink No. 49 jersey to the winner of the auction. The online portion will continue through 5 p.m. Saturday here and then a silent auction at the game begins an hour later and will run through the early stages of the second half. The winner will be announced during the game and be able to take the jersey home with him or her that evening.
Charlotte is also asking for donations, either at the game or here, to raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund as part of the Play 4Kay initiative. All fans coming to the contest are encouraged to wear pink to show their support for breast cancer research and awareness.
In unrelated news to Saturday’s game, the Niners are also announcing the aforementioned UAB contest has been rescheduled for March 7 in Birmingham. The two teams will tip-off at 3 p.m. EST in the regular-season finale before making their way to El Paso, Texas, the next week for the Conference USA Championships.