PREVIEW: Niners set to take on Panthers

Charlotte looks to carry momentum to next game in Miami

| February 4, 2017

Laia Raventos surveying the court. Photo by Pooja Pasupula

After a 72-66 victory over the FAU Owls on Thursday night, the Charlotte 49ers (16-5, 8-2 C-USA) women’s team will look to carry momentum over to Saturday. The Niners will tip off against the Florida International Panthers at 2 p.m. in Miami, Florida. Here are some things to keep an eye out for during the game.

Scouting the Panthers

Florida International comes into the game with a record of 5-15, but are 3-6 in conference match-ups. The Panthers got off to a slow start this season, as they lost four of their first five games. They also had a rigid non-conference schedule, as they faced off against the likes of Georgetown, Miami, Florida Gulf Coast and George Mason. While their record is not where they want it to be, the Panthers are very deceptive. They’re coming off a home loss to Old Dominion, but swept the season series against FAU and also won against UTEP.

FIU is led by two double digit scorers– Kristian Hudson, who averages 13.5 points and 4.6 boards per contest, and Janka Hegedus, who averages 10 points and 4.5 boards. Alexis Gordon is the team’s third leading scorer at 9.7 points, and is their best three point shooter. She takes, and makes, a lot of threes– Gordon has hit 45 of her 121 attempts from distance this season for a 37.2 percentage. Tianah Alvarado brings 9.2 points to the table in addition to 4.3 boards, while Kiandre’a Pound leads the squad in rebounds with 5.1 per game.

As a unit, the Panthers average 56.9 points per game and surrender an average of 73.8. They also turn the ball over an average of 18.3 times per contest and are -10.0 in the rebounding margin. FIU collects 32.1 boards and gives up 42.1 rebounds. Despite the losses, FIU is a hungry, dangerous team. Charlotte coach Cara Consuegra noted after the Rice game that “anybody can beat anybody in this league,” and she’s correct.

Consuegra also had positive things to say about FIU during her pregame preview.

“They execute their stuff really well. They’re great off the ball screen, make great reads and are able to get downhill drives,” Consuegra said. “They run a lot of different things. So on a one-day prep, it’s certainly a hard turn around…. a lot of what we focus on today is just being better at certain things.”

Keys for Charlotte

The key for Charlotte will be to play through tough stretches. This 16-5 team is definitely talented, but has struggled to hit shots at times. To help offset that, the team will need to pound the ball inside and consistently drive in order to get trips to the charity stripe. Sophomore Grace Hunter, who is coming off a 26 point, 10 rebound- double double against FAU, will lead the charge with aggressive drives.

Helping Hunter down low is Nyilah Jamison-Myers. Jamison-Myers is averaging 14.1 points, 6.6 boards and 2.1 blocks per game. With those two being aggressive on the inside, look for things to open up on the perimeter for Ciara Gregory. Meanwhile, Laia Raventos (5.7 assists per game in conference) and Lefty Webster (4.9 dimes) will continue to facilitate for this Charlotte team which relies on ball movement.

Category:Sports, Women's Basketball

Zach Timmons, better known as ZT, is a junior at UNC Charlotte. He is an English major and is also minoring in journalism. In his free time, ZT enjoys writing spoken word poetry, drawing, and making beats.

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Zach Timmons, better known as ZT, is a junior at UNC Charlotte. He is an English major and is also minoring in journalism. In his free time, ZT enjoys writing spoken word poetry, drawing, and making beats.