CHARLOTTE, N.C. –
Senior Ny Hammonds
closed her Halton Arena career the only way she knew how – with her second consecutive triple-double – in guiding the Charlotte women’s basketball team to an 87-57 victory over Marshall Saturday night. As the team’s only senior, she helped lead the 49ers to a 10-4 home record this season, marking the 12th
-straight season in which they have posted double-digit victories on their home floor. The win also clinches an opening-round bye for the Niners entering the upcoming Conference USA Championships as a No. 5-8 seed.
Hammonds becomes the first player in Conference USA history and only the sixth in NCAA history to register consecutive triple-doubles, becoming the first since Brittney Griner accomplished the feat for Baylor in 2010. Hammonds finished with 12 points, reaching the mark on a 3-pointer with 2:54 left, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, one shy of her career best set in Wednesday’s triple-double against FIU. Her 11 assists push her into double figures in the category for the sixth time in her career, all coming in the last two seasons.
She raised her school record career assists mark to 483, providing even more distance between her and second-place Markita Aldridge (1992,’94-96), whom she passed two weeks ago in the earlier meeting against the Thundering Herd.
Hammonds, however, was not alone Saturday, as she was joined by four other Charlotte (14-13, 8-6 C-USA) players in double-figure scoring, including a game-best 15 from junior Hillary Sigmon
. Redshirt junior Gabby Tyler
, sophomore Kira Gordon
and freshman Ciara Gregory
each tallied 11 points. Tyler nearly had a double-double, grabbing nine boards. Freshman Lefty Webster
tied Hammonds on the glass with 10 caroms, sharing game-high honors.
Freshman Meme Garner
also put together the best game of her collegiate career, tallying seven points and grabbing five rebounds in 11 minutes, setting career bests in all categories. She converted 2-of-3 field goals and 3-of-4 free throws plus an assist.
The Thundering Herd place only one player in double-digit scoring, as Chukwuka Ezeigbo registered 14 points. Suporia Dickens grabbed eight boards, but it was not enough as the Niners won the battle on the glass, 50-to-37.
Charlotte gained control of the contest with a 14-0 run during a 4:59 span late in the first half, widening a 25-20 lead (5:12) to a 39-20 advantage (0:13) and never letting Marshall (9-19, 2-13 C-USA) get any closer the remainder of the contest. The 30-point victory was the largest for the 49ers all season and most since a 49-point triumph, 80-31, over North Carolina Central Nov. 10, 2012.
The 14-straight points featured eight from the foul line on 10 attempts, as the surge helped the Niners jump out to a 39-23 halftime cushion. Two of the charity tosses, both makes by Hammonds, came after the Thundering Herd’s bench was assessed a technical foul at the 3:51 mark.
Marshall attempted to put a dent into the margin, using an Aja Sorrells triple at the 17:38 mark to pull within 14, 42-28, but the 49ers turned the tide once again. Charlotte mounted a 17-4 spurt in just over three minutes, increasing the scoring difference to 27, 59-32. Gordon, who posted three old-fashioned three-point plays in Wednesday’s triumph, added another pair in the run.
The Herd then used an 8-0 stretch of their own, covering 2:28, to trim the deficit to 19, 59-40, with 11:41 remaining. The Niners countered with their own 8-0 spurt to push the edge back to 27, 67-40, with 8:58 to play.
Marshall would not get closer than 23 the remainder of the way, as Charlotte padded its lead to as high as 33, 86-53, following an old-fashioned three-point play from sophomore Tori Carter
at the 1:42 mark. Her play came on the immediate possession following Hammonds’ curtain call with 2:02 remaining.
Through the opening two-and-a-half minutes of the game, the Thundering Herd jumped out to a 7-2 edge, striking similarities to their 7-0 start against the 49ers two weeks ago. However, Sigmon dropped in her first 3-pointer of the contest and the team used a 7-0 run to pull ahead, 9-7, with 15:19 left.
Both squads traded narrow advantages, with neither inching ahead by more than two until Gregory’s triple at the 11:09 mark provided Charlotte with a 19-16 lead. It was the start of a 9-4 Niners surge through nearly six-and-a-half minutes, setting up the much larger run to close the period.
Charlotte will head west for its next outing, an 8 p.m. EST Wednesday tip in Tulsa, Okla., against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. The 49ers will cap the week with a rescheduled contest at UAB at 3 p.m. EST Friday to conclude the regular season. Charlotte Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Cara Consuegra Opening statement
What a great senior night. That is absolutely the first thing that I have to say. I’m so proud of Ny. Usually I sit up here and talk about the team first, and the team win, but to go out on your senior night with your second-straight triple-double is an incredible feat. I’m just so proud of her, and for her to be locked in this week. Obviously it’s fun for her to finish that way but she’s doing it for the team. I know that she feels that it is a tremendous urgency to go out as a senior to go out well and put us in the best position going into the tournament and her play has just showed that. I thought our team was unbelievably selfless down the stretch trying to help her and obviously we all knew she was close. Just to see them try to help her, set up for shots and that rebound was really cool and great thing to see. Other than that it was a great team effort.
Having five people in double figures and we just played so much better defensively and really pressured them, made them uncomfortable, took them out of what they wanted to do against us. We were able to get a really good win.
I also wanted to give a shout out to Meme Garner
. She came in and gave us some huge minutes tonight. She hasn’t played a whole lot, and obviously we were down a little bit in the post, and we needed her. She came in and was huge for us. You could just say that about every player on our roster. The biggest thing is that I’m just proud of our team because we’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs this season, and I just have seen them grow as teammates, players and people, and that’s what you want as a coach. Things won’t always be perfect, you have adversity, and obviously we would like some of our close games to go the other way but all we can do is control who we are and I think our team has really stepped up this week and taken the step forward to represent Charlotte really well. I’m really proud of them. On Marshall’s zone
They are very aggressive in the zone. They play the passing lanes really well and they put pressure on you. I just didn’t think we were getting the ball out really quickly and were really stagnant. I think there was a little bit of uneasiness because we played so poorly down there in the last game. They forced us into a lot of turnovers. I think it just took us a little bit to get some confidence and know we could score against that. I think our players did a good job looking for things that we worked on going into this game. We found a lot of open opportunities and we were able to get comfortable with that as we went. Obviously once we were able to play better defensively and get going in transition. That changes the game for us. On depth and others contributing
We talked about this all season long. We feel like we have better depth than we have had in a very long time. We’ve had games where we had a tighter rotation and then we had games where we had a bigger rotation like tonight. One thing about our bench players coming off is that they are ready and been ready to contribute. Meme is a great example. She hasn’t played in so long, came in and was valuable. I think that gives your starters confidence and gives a coach confidence when someone gets into foul trouble that there is someone there to pick it up. That is a strength of our team. On status of the program right now
Honestly, I think we are moving upward. We had a really good week. This is the first time we have won two games in a row since January. And not just won but played well for a majority of the game. I can’t say we have done that. I say right now we are in a positive direction and it just comes down to continuing to clean up things. Turnovers, for example, have hurt us all season long, but tonight we only had 11, which is progress. Just being focused in on what we are asking them to do. I feel like we are in a really good place right now. We just have to continue to grow, keep pushing each other in practice, have that urgency. It just comes down with this team, when we have urgency and the will to win, we are pretty darn good. There have been games where we haven’t had that as much as I would have liked. But I feel a lot of that coming from our team now and that gives me confidence going into this week. Senior Ny Hammonds
On the triple-double
I’m feeling great actually. I’m really, really happy. On what needs to continue this season
I think our rotation, our defense and boxing out. I think our boxing out has gotten a lot better but our rotation and our help side has to get better going into El Paso. On her favorite memory of Halton Arena
When I was a freshman, we played Florida here. Shannon (McCallum) was one of my best friends on the team and she had the game winner against Florida, so that was one of my favorite memories here. Also, when I was a freshman we went 27-10, and last year was 26-6, so just being a part of a winning team has been an important memory for me. Junior Hillary Sigmon On bench contributions
It’s very comfortable. Like coach talked about Meme who came in, stepped up for us big tonight. It’s just a great comfort for us, coach and everybody to have that spark off the bench and knowing you can count on them when their name is called.