The fifth-seeded Charlotte 49ers (21-10) couldn’t find their shot against Louisiana Tech (18-12) Thursday night in the Conference USA Quarterfinals, losing 66-55 to the fourth-seeded Lady Techsters inside Bartow Arena.
Senior guard Ciara Gregory led all scorers with 17 points, including five makes from behind the three-point line. With Gregory’s third three of the game, she became C-USA’s ingle season-leader in three-pointers made in a season. Grace Hunter added in 16 points while Nyilah Jamison-Myers chipped in with nine points and nine rebounds.
In the first quarter, Charlotte used two threes from Gregory to jump out to a 7-2 lead in the first two minutes of play, but the Lady Techters responded with a 5-0 run to tie the game up, 7-7, with 5:19 remaining in the first. After going scoreless over the next two minutes, Hunter got on the scoreboard with a layup, followed by an Amaya Ransom jumper to give the Niners a 15-11 lead. Charlotte led 17-14 after the first quarter, as senior Lefty Webster capitalized on a layup in the closing seconds to give Charlotte the three-point lead.
After a couple buckets from the 49ers, the Lady Techsters went on a 7-0 run with six minutes to go in the third to take the lead, 25-23. Hunter tied the game up with a jumper but LA Tech answered with a 9-2 run to increase their halftime lead to 34-27.
Coming out of the break, Hunter scored six straight point for the Niners, but the Lady Techsters stayed consistent on offense, as Kierra Lang knocked down a three-point shot to give the fourth-seeded Lady Techsters a 41-33 lead. The two teams went back-and-forth throughout the rest of the third quarter, as LA Tech held on to their lead, up by 11, 53-42 heading into the final frame.
Webster came out aggressive and hit back-to-back shots for Charlotte, cutting the lead to eight, but a three from Anna McLeod sent the lead back to 11 with six minutes to play. With 4:31 to go, Charlotte trailed 57-50 but that deficit doubled after five free throws and a made shot under the basket for LA Tech, now up 64-50. The 49ers got within nine points but LA Tech hit their free throws down the stretch to advance to the semi-finals on Friday.
Charlotte will have to wait until Monday night to see if they are picked to play in the postseason.