ATLANTA - Charlotte built a 19-point cushion in the second
half only to see it trimmed to single digits before fending off a charging
Mississippi Valley State squad, 63-48, in the consolation game of the GSU
Holiday & Hoops Tournament in the GSU Sports Arena in Atlanta.
The 49ers were led by 18 points from sophomore Hillary Sigmon, including five
3-pointers, as she finished just a point shy of her career-best outing. She
topped the double-digit scoring plateau for the fifth-consecutive contest.
Senior Jennifer Hailey added her eighth double-double of the season and 28th
of her career with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while extending her consecutive
games streak with at least one blocked shot to 24.
Classmate Amanda Dowe hauled in game-high 16 rebounds, including 13 on the
defensive glass. Junior Ny Hammonds, the nation's leader in assists per game,
handed out 11 helpers to set a new career best.
As a team, the Niners finished with 16 assists on 23 field goals made and made
12-of-16 free throws.
Mississippi Valley State placed two players in double-figure scoring, led by
Alia Frank's 14. Jasmyne Sanders added 10 off the bench. Frank was also the
team's leader in rebounds with five, as Charlotte controlled the battle by
winning it, 41-27.
The 49ers were able to quickly build a double-digit lead following an Alexis
Alexander layup at the 13:10 mark to make it a 14-4 contest. The field goal
capped an 11-0 spurt, as Charlotte (9-3) reversed a 4-3 deficit in just over
four minutes of action.
After the Devilettes closed within six on a Lenise Stallings, 16-10, at 12:04,
back-to-back Hailey jumpers pushed it back to a double-figure advantage.
Mississippi Valley State (3-8) then tallied the next five, including a fadeaway
jumper and plus-one from Alia Frank with exactly 10 minutes left to make it a
five-point Niners edge, 20-15.
Sigmon capped a 9-2 Charlotte run with her second triple of the period,
extending the margin to a dozen, 29-17, with 7:11 left. Although the Devilettes
cut it to 10, they would get no closer the remainder of the half as Dowe hit a
12-footer from the wing to give the 49ers their largest lead at 17, 36-19, with
just 1:19 remaining.
The final five points would fall into Mississippi Valley State's basket,
including an Olivia Kennedy 3-pointer with 24 seconds to play, to pull within
12 at the intermission, 36-24.
The Niners turned the dozen-point edge at the break into a 19-point advantage
just over two minutes into the second period. The stanza-opening 9-2 surge was
capped by a Sigmon 3-pointer at 17:51, giving Charlotte a 45-28 lead.
Once the game's largest margin was built, it seemed to fade away just as
quickly as the Niners offense went cold. The Devilettes' Sanders sister duo of
Jasmyne and Joncyee tallied the next six points, spaced out over a seven-minute
stretch, to pull MVSU within 13, 45-32. The 49ers would not score again until
Hailey hit a layup at 10:40.
Mississippi Valley State continued to find the bottom of the net, while
Charlotte could not convert. Jasmyne Sanders closed her team within 10, 52-42,
with 7:38 to play. The margin stayed at 10 through a Frank old-fashioned
three-point play with 5:11 remaining to make it a 55-45 Niners lead.
Following a 49ers turnover, Davina Jefferson hit a 3-pointer on the ensuing
possession and the cushion was down to seven, 55-48, with 5:01 left. It marked
the first single-digit lead for Charlotte in over 22 minutes. However, the
final eight points went to the Niners, as Hammonds took control. She connected
on the team's last three field goals and helped clinch the victory by shutting
down Devilette offense during the final five minutes.
Charlotte returns to action after the New Year when it plays host to Coppin
State at Noon Thursday as the 49ers will welcome nearly 5,000 local elementary
students to Halton Arena for the annual Education Day. The contest will open a
stretch of four out of five games at home to begin the 2013 calendar slate for