|Charlotte faces familiar foe for WNIT First Round|
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – Charlotte women’s basketball’s 12th-straight postseason appearance is against a familiar opponent, as the 49ers have traveled to St. Bonaventure, N.Y., to meet former Atlantic 10 foe St. Bonaventure in the WNIT First Round. It marks the ninth-straight year in which the Niners and Bonnies have squared off, who were both in the Atlantic 10 before Charlotte joined Conference USA this season.
The 49ers are one of only 12 programs nationally to make the postseason, NCAA or WNIT, in each of the last dozen years. Charlotte is the lone non-BCS school on the elite list. This year’s WNIT bid marks the fifth-straight season in which the Niners have made the field, matching a school record for longest consecutive stretch with the 2004-08 period.
Charlotte is 10-9 all-time in the event, making a run to the 2011 semifinals and 2013 Sweet 16. Friday’s contest marks the first road WNIT game for the 49ers since the 2011 semifinal tilt at Toledo. The last time Charlotte played away from Halton Arena for the WNIT First Round was in 2005 when it traveled to Winston-Salem, N.C., to face Wake Forest.
The Niners bring a 15-15 record into Friday’s contest, winning three of their last four regular-season contests before bowing out of the Conference USA Championships in the second round. Three players average double-figure points, led by redshirt junior Gabby Tyler’s 12.0. Senior All-Conference USA Third Team pick Ny Hammonds and sophomore Kira Gordon are also above the plateau with 11.4 and 10.6 points per game, respectively.
Tyler and Gordon haul in 7.7 and 6.7 respective rebounds each time out to top the 49ers, while sophomore Alexis Alexander is third with her 5.6 average.
St. Bonaventure is 23-10 this year under 14th-year head coach Jim Crowley. The Bonnies placed second in the Atlantic 10 regular season and reached the league tournament’s semifinals.
The program had its biggest postseason splash with a 2012 NCAA Sweet 16 showing. St. Bonaventure is in the postseason for the fifth time in school history, all since 2009.
Katie Healy leads the Bonnies with a 16.0 points per game mark and is joined in double figures by Nyla Rueter (11.0) and Hannah Little (10.4). Little edges Healy for the team’s best rebounding average, 8.9 to 7.7.
St. Bonaventure leads the all-time series 5-4, although Charlotte earned a 64-57 triumph in last year’s meeting behind a double-double from 2013 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Jennifer Hailey.
Josh Feldman will handle the play-by-play radio duties with ESPN 730AM, the flagship station of 49ers athletics, picking up the live broadcast. Free live video will be linked through Charlotte49ers.com, while updates can also be found on Twitter by following @49erGameDay.
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