Niners look to secure another conference win
The Charlotte 49ers women’s team will look to score their eighth conference victory tonight as they take on the Rice Owls at 7 p.m. Charlotte will make its ESPN3 debut inside Halton Arena this season.
Scouting the Owls
The Owls come into tonight’s contest with a record of 11-8, including a 2-6 conference record. After starting the year off strong, 9-2 through the non-conference slate, the Owls have struggled to find their footing in Conference USA play.
The Owls are led by two double figure scorers – Jasmine Goodwine, who averages 11.6 points and 4.5 boards, and Shani Rainey, who brings 11.2 points and 4.5 boards to the table. Maya Hawkins is right behind the two with 9.9 points a game, and Nicole Iandemarco is the main contributor off the bench (8.9 points).
The Owls are a balanced rebounding team, featuring five players who average at least four caroms per contest. As a unit, Rice averages 36.9 rebounds, while the Niners average 38.5. The battle on the glass will most certainly be a factor to keep an eye on throughout the contest.
In addition, Rice hits three-pointers at a 34.1 percent clip, and they score the most points during the first and third quarters. A noticeable trend is that the Owls seem to drop off in scoring towards the end of halves, while recently Charlotte has ramped it up in the fourth quarter. With this information, expect the game to be a tug of war of momentum. The team who gets hot in the fourth will win this game.
Niners Building Résumé
Meanwhile, Charlotte has been quietly building more and more momentum as the season goes along. After their lone loss to La Tech, they’ve put together two great performances and will look to string together their third in a row. It’s no doubt that their strong non-conference slate has prepared them for the conference games, and their defense is paying dividends.
Charlotte coach Cara Consuegra has preached that good defense and rebounding are key to winning games. After the La Tech game, the Niners have responded. Although Charlotte has only shot 46.7 percent from the floor in conference, they’ve been holding their opponents to a 37.6 field goal percentage. Their switches from man-to-man and zone defenses have befuddled opponents recently.
For instance, in the last outing against North Texas, the Niners only surrendered seven points in the fourth quarter after only surrendering 12 in the third quarter.
Also key to Charlotte’s recent success has been the development of angular Nyilah Jamison-Myers. While the forward struggled with foul trouble during the early part of the season, the redshirt junior is now averaging 14.4 points in the conference slate. In addition, she’s averaging 6.6 rebounds, which has helped Grace Hunter (7.4 boards) and Lefty Webster (6.8) on the glass. When you add in Ciara Gregory’s hot shooting (14.6 ppg in conference, 34.4 percent from three), it’s easy to see that Charlotte is getting hot at the right time.
Hunter, Webster, Myers and Gregory will look to continue their win streak, as sophomore Laia Raventos continues to facilitate. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. in Halton and is sure to be a marquee match-up.