CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte 49ers
women's basketball team dug itself a first half hole before closing within one
possession on numerous occasions in the second half but, unfortunately could
not mount the full comeback, in falling 67-63 to Kansas State Saturday evening
inside Halton Arena in Charlotte, N.C.
Leading the way for the 49ers in the grueling second half was the senior post pairing of Amanda Dowe and Jennifer Hailey, as each finished with a double-double. Dowe led the squad with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Hailey contributed 14 points and 13 boards. Classmate Jai Forney added 14 points to give Charlotte (3-1) a trio in double-figure scoring.
Junior Ny Hammonds handed out nine of the team's 11 assists, setting a new career high, while swiping four steals.
Brittany Chambers poured in clutch points for the Wildcats and finished as with game-best scoring honors with 22 points. Haley Texada (17 points) and Ashlynn Knoll (10) also reached the double-figure scoring plateau. Texada and Ashia Woods hauled in a KSU-high eight rebounds apiece.
Hailey sparked the Niners second-half run, using a pair of free throws to make it a 44-41 contest at 13:55 after Charlotte found itself down 11, 36-25, at the intermission. Although the 49ers made it a one possession difference, Chambers answered with a layup and then an old-fashioned three-point play the next two times her team had the ball, extending the margin back to eight. Knoll then buried a 3-pointer from the top of the arc and Marissa Ellis added a steal and layup, her only points of the game, as Kansas State (4-0) utilized a 10-0 streak to quickly build a 13-point edge, 54-41, at the 10:36 mark.
The 49ers kept battling, however, and Hillary Sigmon dropped in a corner trey, the team's only triple of the night on its 10th attempt, at 8:58 to bring Charlotte within nine, 55-46. The 3-pointer moves the consecutive game streak to 50.
Charlotte kept chipping away and by the time Hammonds hit a pair of back-to-back layups, the 49ers trailed just one, 62-61, with 1:31 remaining. Again, however, Chambers answered the call with a layup at the other end and Kendra Spresser drained the back-end of two-shot foul line trip, pushing the gap to four, 65-61.
Dowe would bring the green and white within two, 65-63, and forcing the Niners to make one last defensive stop to regain possession. The defensive stop occurred but Woods grabbed an offensive carom, retaining the ball in K-State's hands, and Chambers iced the contest with two free throws with 10.0 seconds to play. Sigmon's 3-pointer at the buzzer rimmed out.
Hailey started the game with a quick layup but the next seven points fell to the Wildcats, causing a quick Niner timeout. Charlotte would then mount a 9-2 surge covering just over the next two minutes, as Dowe hit an old-fashioned three-point play to give her team an 11-9 advantage with 15:41 to play in the opening period. Unfortunately for the 49ers, it would be the last lead they would hold the remainder of the contest.
Chambers tied it with a jumper at 14:50 and then Texada recorded a triple at 13:49 to give Kansas State the lead and it never looked back. The margin swelled to eight, 23-15, but a 6-0 Niner run closed it within two, 23-21, at the 7:57 mark.
Despite leading by only two, Chambers answered the call again with the next KSU bucket to start a 7-0 surge and widen the gap to double digits for the first time, 31-21, with 3:55 remaining. Kansas State would push its advantage to 11 on a Texada jumper in the lane with nine seconds left to take a 36-25 cushion into halftime.
Charlotte will return to action when it travels to Orlando for a 7 p.m. Wednesday meeting with UCF. The contest can be heard on Charlotte49ers.com with Josh Feldman handling play-by-play duties.
Charlotte Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Cara Consuegra
Disappointing game tonight when you play a team of that high caliber in Kansas State. The program that they have, being a Big 12 team, you can't come out the way we did in the first half. I thought we played by far our worst basketball half this year. We just weren't ready to play for whatever reason and it got us in a huge hole and spent the whole time in the second half battling. I was proud of the way our team battled in the second half to get back in the game. But certainly when you're in that big of a hole against that good of a team it just gets to you. We got to figure it out. We got to figure out why we were that team in the first half. We got to start games better. You know it's disappointing every time you lose games at home but certainly against a team we matched up well against and certainly a chance to beat.
On the first half performance
I mean that was certainly our worst shooting performance of the season, not just from 3-point land but from two-point land as well. And unfortunately, it was across the board, and so that makes it pretty tough. We got to do a better job rebounding. I thought in the first 20 minutes we got in a lot of trouble. Obviously when Amanda gets in foul trouble and she goes out, it significantly hurts our rebounding ability. And our guards they got to get in there and rebound those long shots because you got a chance. The ball will come back to you. Good news is I don't think we aren't going to shoot the ball like that the rest of the year, but when that happens, you got to find another way to score like we did in the second half. We did a better job of getting to the free throw line, we did a better job getting points in the paint. We finished with 44 points in the paint. We just can't rely on shooting those threes when they're not going in for us.
On shots not falling
So think we rushed a little bit. We didn't quite have our composure. Our players were pretty excited about this game and I think at times you could see, particularly in the second half, how much they wanted it. We didn't quite keep our composure instead of just catching and finishing. We rushed and I don't really think that was what Kansas State doing to us but it was more ourselves, gathering and finishing, just frustrated to see that.
On creating easier
Our transition offense is the key to the game. We were really disappointed. We did not feel like we did that in the first 20 minutes of the game and we talked about it a lot at halftime. We had to come out and run. We had to run harder and we needed our point guards to race the ball until somebody stopped them and our players really took that adjustment to heart and they did a great job in the second half getting run outs and easy layups. It was hard for them to guard us one-on-one in transition. That certainly got us back into the game, which we knew that was an advantage that we had. We started to take advantage of that and we battled and we battled to the end of the game. We had the opportunity. It was just unfortunate. We had a good defensive stance and we gave up that offensive rebound. I really attribute that to K-State. They battled hard, they worked hard to get those offensive rebounds. We just couldn't finish the job to give ourselves the tie or win the game and that happens sometimes. But that is part of the game of basketball. You got to learn from it and move on and that's what we will do.
On the production of
the senior post players
Well certainly, our post play was an advantage for us and that was part of the game plan making sure we get the ball inside. With Amanda picking up those first two fouls in the first half, it certainly was a huge problem for us because she's just so dynamic out there both scoring and rebounding. The two of them (Amanda Dowe and Jenn Hailey), we are going to go as they go and so we just got to learn that when one of them is in foul trouble or we have a game that one of them is off, other people just have to step up, do better and contribute. We will do that as we grow throughout the season.