Laia Raventos dropped 19 points, including two go-ahead jumpers in the final two minutes, Amaya Ransom added 10 points and six rebounds, and the Charlotte 49ers outlasted the UNC Asheville Bulldogs 51-47 in a low scoring affair. Charlotte also got help from redshirt sophomore forward Jaida Robinson, who tallied 10 rebounds and three blocks, and Lauren Harley, who recorded eight boards.
The Bulldogs, who have been to the NCAA Tournament two years in a row, were led by Khailia Webb’s 10 points. Webb, who also added seven boards for a near double-double, struggled from the field, as she shot 5-15 (33 percent).
“It was a dogfight. I thought Asheville came out and had a really good gameplan against us,” Charlotte coach Cara Consuegra said. “I thought Laia came out and played how we need her to play. I thought she was aggressive…. she controlled the tempo for us, she was steady. I thought defensively, she did great communicating, working through bumps in our zone. When Laia plays like that, we’re gonna be in most games.”
Raventos set the tone early, as she hit a treyball to open the scoring for Charlotte. For the rest of the quarter, it was a back and forth battle, as both teams traded scores to a 12-12 deadlock at the end of the first frame. In the second quarter, however, both teams hit a lull offensively, as neither team could find the bucket. Charlotte shot 2-13 (15.4 percent) from the floor while the Bulldogs shot 4-16 (25 percent). The Niners hit two free throws at the eight minute mark, but went nearly three full minutes without points until Ransom hit a jumper at the midway point of the quarter. Webb hit two jumpers during that span for Asheville, but they only held a 20-18 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, Charlotte began to pull away, thanks to some steals and runouts in transition. Raventos began to get hot, as she scored seven points during the quarter as part of a 17-2 run for the Niners. Charlotte held Asheville to just nine points in the quarter, the second straight quarter that the Bulldogs failed to register at least 10 points. Charlotte went into the fourth leading 35-29.
Charlotte continued to score and built their lead to 10, going ahead 41-31. However, the Bulldogs went on a 10-2 run of their own. The run concluded at the 2:54 mark, and then Raventos went to work again. Raventos hit a clutch treyball as the shot clock expired with a little over two minutes remaining, but the Bulldogs came roaring back. Jessica Wall, who was the only Bulldog to hit a three-pointer, hit a treyball in the final minute and a half after a crucial Charlotte turnover.
Raventos hit a clutch step back jumper with 20 ticks remaining, but Wall hit another clutch three-pointer to bring the deficit to one, 48-47. Charlotte used free throws and a defensive stand in the final seconds to provide the final margin, 51-47.
Charlotte won the game despite only shooting 18-49 (36.7 percent) and 4-12 (33 percent) from trifecta land. They made up for that by outrebounding the Bulldogs 41 to 34, and Raventos hit 7 of her 14 field goal attempts. Meanwhile, UNC Asheville’s starting five combined to shoot 12-44 (27 percent) from the field.
“I’m proud of our team in the second half. It just came down to making some adjustments,” Consuegra said. “We weren’t taking care of the rebounds… we weren’t getting transition points in the first half; we were able to get ourselves going in that third quarter which was the difference in the game.”
With the win, Charlotte advances to 2-2 on the year, while Asheville falls to 0-3. The Niners will get back to work, as they will head to Fort Lauderdale, FL to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Puetro Rico Clasico. The game against the Hawkeyes, Consuegra’s alma mater, will tip off at noon on Thanksgiving Day.