CHARLOTTE, NC - Behind a 22-3 second half run and three double-figures scorers led by Shannon McCallum's 25 points, the Charlotte 49ers (26-9) defeated Florida (20-15), 81-77, in overtime in the third round of the WNIT.
"Our older players took over in the second half," Charlotte coach Karen Aston said. "I can't say enough about the leadership displayed by our Shannon McCallum, Epiphany Woodson and Kendria Holmes. They really lifted us up. McCallum was amazing in the second half and in overtime tonight. We had a lot of players step up and make plays for us. I am just so proud of our team's effort."
McCallum recorded her 21st career 20-point scoring game with a game-high 25 points. With her 25 points, McCallum moved past Sakellie Daniels (2002-06) and Tonya Phifer (1998-01) into fourth place on the 49ers' career scoring list with 1,493 points. Gabby Tyler scored 12 points off the bench. Jennifer Hailey added 10 points to the 49ers' attack. Amanda Dowe and Jessica Johnson tallied nine points apiece.
The 49ers behind the scoring of Tyler, McCallum and Hailey finished the game with a 42-28 advantage in points in the paint.
Charlotte found themselves down 48-31 with 18:58 left in the second half. McCallum connected on a short jump shot at the 17:38 mark beginning the 49ers comeback. Charlotte scored 15 straight points cutting Florida's lead to 48-46 when McCallum connected on a three at the 14:23 mark. McCallum scored eight points during the 49ers' run. Holmes and Hailey also scored during the run.
Florida's Deana Allen completed a three-point play ending the 49ers' run pushing Florida's lead to five points, 51-46, with 14:02 on the clock. Then, Charlotte scored seven straight points taking their first lead of the game when Johnson connected on a three from the wing giving the 49ers a 53-51 lead with 10:48 on the clock. Hailey and McCallum scored the 49ers' other two baskets during the run.
Florida's Jordan Jones, who scored 15 points in the game, tied the score at 53 with a jump shot at the 10:03 mark. Johnson scored on a short jumper in the lane and a three from McCallum pushed the 49ers lead to a game-high five points, 58-53, with 9:22 on the clock.
Florida regained the lead with six straight points off free throws. The lead exchanged hands six times with three ties over the final 7:49 of regulation.
Charlotte enjoyed a three-point lead, 72-69, with 1:03 on the clock after five straight points by McCallum. However, Jaterra Bonds, , who led Florida with 23 points, tied the score at 72 with 51 seconds left in regulation. Charlotte had several chances to win the game in regulation but they were not able to convert on their scoring chances.
Florida scored the first two points of overtime with a jumper by Azania Stewart at the 2:51 mark of overtime. Charlotte's Tyler scored inside tying the score for the seventh time just 31 seconds later.
Florida's Jones connected on a long three. Then, McCallum connected on her fourth three of the game tying the score for the eighth time at 77 with 59 seconds on the clock. Hailey made a steal on Florida's next possession and Forney converted the Florida turnover into two points with a layup giving the 49ers the lead for good with 53 seconds on the clock. Holmes closed out the scoring with a layup off a McCallum assist with 18 seconds left in overtime.
Charlotte advances to the fourth round of the WNIT for the first time in school history. The 49ers play Virginia on the road, Saturday, March 26 at 7 pm.