The Charlotte 49ers (17-8, 9-5 C-USA) will begin their last road-trip of the season Thursday night at 7 p.m. with a stop in Bowling Green, Kentucky with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (20-6, 12-2 C-USA), attempting to complete the two-game sweep over WKU after an 89-85 OT win earlier in the season inside Halton Arena.
In their match-up on Jan. 5, Kendall Noble had her way with the 49ers’ defense, almost collecting a triple-double, scoring 27 points, bringing in 11 rebounds and dishing out eight assists. Jaycee Coe added 15 points, while Ivy Brown and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers also scored in double figures.
Grace Hunter had a big day against the Hilltoppers, scoring 32 points and collecting nine rebounds, including a perfect night from downtown (3-3). Ciara Gregory splashed home four three-point shots, as Lefty Webster and Nyilah Jamison-Myers each chipped in with 12 points.
Scouting the Hilltoppers
Noble leads the way on the offensive end for WKU, scoring 15.4 point per game, while also reeling in six rebounds per game. Brown leads the team in the rebounding department with 8.4 per game and scores 14.2 points per contest. Tashia Brown rounds off the double-digit scorers for WKU, averaging 13.8 per game. WKU out-rebounds their opponents, on average, by 3.5 rebounds per game.
WKU is a great defensive team, only allowing 61.5 points per game, while they average 75.3 points per game. Their offensive output normally comes in the second half, with there being a jump in scoring in the last two quarters, but the Hilltoppers also tend to relax on defense as well, giving up more points in the later quarters.
Limit Second Chance Points
Back on Jan. 5, WKU had their way on the boards, offensively and defensively. That night, the Hilltoppers stayed in the game with 20 offensive rebounds, which led to 23 second chance points, compared to Charlotte’s 17 second chance points. Noble recorded five offensive rebounds, along with Ima Akpan, who also recorded five offensive boards. If Charlotte wants to escape Bowling Green, Kentucky with a win Thursday night, they have to box out around the paint when the shot goes up, limiting how many shots sharpshooters Brown and Noble put up.
Throughout the season, Charlotte’s bench has been able to come in and stay firm on defense, but there have been questions on their offensive output. Head coach Cara Consuegra says that she can rely on Webster, one of Charlotte’s seniors, to bring a lot of minutes to the court each night, but she has to be able to throw ladies in off the bench that can help out the starting five.
Amaya Ransom has been that answer as of late, playing 33 minutes against Old Dominion this past Saturday, scoring 13 points and grabbing five boards. Dara Pearson and Jaida Robinson have seen their roles continue to grow but are “pass first” forwards, putting more pressure on the starting five to score a majority of the team’s points.