|Season concludes with WNIT First Round loss|
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – Senior Ny Hammonds poured in 23 points in her final appearance in a Charlotte women’s basketball uniform, but it was not enough as the 49ers fell 81-62 to St. Bonaventure on the road Friday night in WNIT First Round action. The loss marks the end of the campaign for the Niners, who were playing in their 12th-straight postseason.
Hammonds tallied her team-high points by hitting 11-of-18 field goals to finish just two points shy of her career-best performance. She added four rebounds, two assists and a steal in playing the full 40 minutes to cap her stellar career.
Junior Hillary Sigmon drained all eight of her free throws, along with the team’s lone 3-pointer among her trio of field goals, join Hammonds in double-figure scoring with 15. She also had two blocked shots to match freshman Lefty Webster’s team-best total.
Sophomore Kira Gordon paced Charlotte (15-16) with seven rebounds, one more than junior Olivia Rankin.
The Bonnies were led by a pair of double-doubles, including a 28-point, 12-rebound effort from Katie Healy. Hannah Little chipped in 20 points and 15 boards. Chelsea Bowker added 12 points, all from behind the arc, while Emily Michael converted eight points among her 10 to round out the St. Bonaventure (24-10) players in double digits.
Charlotte trailed for much of the first half, though, it kept the difference close throughout the period. The Bonnies, who improved to 13-1 at home this year, raced out to a 14-4 edge in under seven minutes, including a 7-0 run.
The 49ers responded with a 10-5 spurt, capped by a running leaner in the lane from freshman Ciara Gregory at 9:07, to pull within 17-14. Gordon started the surge with the team’s initial four points, while rookie Kenya Olley, Hammonds and Gregory closed it with Charlotte’s defense holding St. Bonaventure off the board, except for one free throw, for what would amount to a 6:20 span.
Healy finally ended the Bonnies’ field goal drought with a bucket at 6:09, her first of two straight, to help Bona build its cushion back to seven, 21-14. Two Rankin conversions were part of a 6-0 Niners run, bringing the deficit to one, 21-20, with 4:20 to play.
Hammonds forced the half’s second tie, 24-24, on a jumper with 47 seconds left before sending Charlotte into the locker room ahead by one, 26-25, with a buzzer beater from just inside the 3-point line.
The Niners padded their lead to three, 30-27, on a pair of Sigmon charity tosses at the 17:18 mark of the second stanza. However, a 6-0 St. Bonaventure run put it back ahead by three, 33-30, but Sigmon answered with her triple to knot the scoring once again at 16:07.
The Bonnies then widened their advantage to eight, 42-34, as Healy used an old-fashioned three-point play to close a 9-1 spurt in a 3:16 stretch. Charlotte kept battling, and would trim the difference down to three, 45-42, on its own 8-3 surge over the course of nearly three minutes.
Bowker then had other ideas, draining consecutive 3-pointers on back-to-back St. Bonaventure possessions to raise the advantage back to eight, 52-44. Hammonds kept the 49ers within four, 54-50, at the 7:21 mark, before they were relegated to fouling the Bonnies in an effort to extend the game and have a chance at the win.
Charlotte had its own opportunities at the foul line, making all eight of its chances, while Hammonds provided the final two field goals, the last with 47 seconds remaining.
The 49ers will return four starters to next year’s squad, losing only Hammonds as a senior off the roster for head coach Cara Consuegra’s fourth season. Charlotte will be in the hunt for a 13th-straight postseason appearance.
INSIDE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL