The Charlotte 49ers returned home on Thursday night, and the team finally ended their losing streak. The Niners used a balanced scoring effort and turned in a 64-49 victory over the South Carolina State Bulldogs to bring their record to 4-8 with one more game before conference play. Jaida Robinson notched 11 points and 13 rebounds, Dara Pearson tallied 10 points and 11 boards, and Nyilah Jamison-Myers added 11 points for Charlotte.
South Carolina State had three players in double figures, but shot a dismal 21 percent from the floor. Kyesha Lewis and Esther Udonsi both had 15 points for the Bulldogs, but combined to shoot 9-27 from the field. Bryeasha Blair added 12 points on 3-16 shooting. The Bulldogs’ bench only managed to shoot 1-11. For the game, the Bulldogs shot 15-71 (21.1 percent), which was the lowest percentage any Charlotte opponent has shot.
“I’m really proud of some of our role players in this game,” Charlotte coach Cara Consuegra said. “I think Dara had a great game with the double-double. I thought she was a difference maker in terms of rebounding. She started to box out and when she does that, everybody else does. I thought Jaida Robinson off the bench was tremendous. We had to find a way to keep her out of foul trouble but a double-double in 18 minutes is outstanding.”
The Bulldogs took an early 4-2 lead in the first quarter, but the Niners found a lead they would never relenquish around the eight minute mark after Laia Raventos’ three-point basket. Raventos’ bucket was the start of a 7-0 run, and they would continue to push the lead, despite going back and forth during the opening minutes. The Niners shot 10-20 in the quarter, getting up a lot of shots and multiple players involved on the way to a 21-15 lead. The Bulldogs only hit 4 of their 19 field goals in the opening frame.
The Bulldogs narrowed the deficit to four in the second quarter, but a subsequent drought by both teams led to no points, spanning almost half of the quarter. By the time the Niners did score again, they pushed the lead to 29-20, but the Bulldogs finished the half on another 7-0 run. Charlotte only managed eight points during the frame and shot 3-12 from the floor, but still led 29-27 at the half.
Charlotte had a huge third quarter, as they outscored South Carolina State 24-15. The Niners started the half off with an 8-0 run to maintain a 10-point lead. The Bulldogs narrowed the deficit to six, but another 9-0 Charlotte run gave the Niners the momentum they needed to hold SCSU off. The Niners went into the fourth quarter ahead 53-42.
In the fourth, the Niners didn’t find much scoring, as they only managed 11 points. However, the Bulldogs only dropped seven points in the quarter on 3-18 shooting. It was the fewest points Charlotte had ever surrendered in the fourth quarter. While both teams struggled to shoot the ball, a 7-0 run by the 49ers proved to be the difference. The Niners added a couple of buckets at the end, and won 64-49.
“I liked how this fell on the schedule. I think it’s really good for us,” Consuegra said. “It’s going to continue to help prepare us because our mission as a team right now is to just keep getting better. We need to get better and anytime we can put ourselves in a situation that helps us get better, helps prepare us, helps us get ready, that’s what we need to do.”
The Niners will face off against Mercer in their final non conference game on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 4 p.m.