Mariah Linney coordinates a play. Photo by Chris Crews

Charlotte (10-13, 6-4 C-USA) had four players in double figures and led the whole game in its 88-75 victory over UTSA (5-19, 3-9 C-USA).

The Niners got their season-high in points after shooting a season-best 56 percent from the field.

Nyilah Jamison-Myers scored 22 points on 9-of-13 field goals, blocked five shots, collected four rebounds and three steals. Dara Pearson contributed her third career double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Laia Raventos had 19 points, six boards and seven assists. Mariah Linney scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and a career high two blocked shots.

“What has been clicking for me is just practicing. After the conversation we had in her office, she knew I was frustrated at the beginning of the season and she kept in contact with me and made sure I was okay. Ever since then, I have felt that she had confidence in me and that’s what boosted me up. When she called me in the office and said she wanted me to play more, I knew I had to prove something. I started practicing harder and it paid off on the court,” said Mariah Linney.

UTSA was led by Marie Benson’s 19 points and eight rebounds.

Octavia Wilson quickly put the 49ers on top with a jumper in the lane on the first possession, but then neither side scored again until Crystal Chidomere converted her own steal into a layup at the 7:36 mark to tie the game. Carlie Heineman got the Roadrunners even with a three pointer with 5:18 remaining in the first quarter. Raventos hit a three to extend the 49ers lead, 8-5, and the Niners never trailed again. Jaida Robinson hit a three pointer, as Charlotte built its edge to nine, 18-9, with 2:22 remaining. Robinson’s old-fashioned three-point play with one-minute left kept it a nine-point difference, 23-14, but Benson made a pair of free throws to pull the Roadrunners to within seven, 23-16, at the end of the first quarter.

Tija Hawkins kept UTSA’s momentum charging forward with a jumper to begin the second quarter, cutting the deficit to five, but the Niners responded with a 9-3 run over the next 1:45, to bring their lead to double figures for the first time at 11, 32-21. Linney went coast-to-coast, slicing her way through the defense in the paint for a reverse layup with 2:42 remaining in the second quarter. Charlotte went into halftime with a 45-36 advantage.

To start the third quarter, the two teams would answer each other’s opportunities with their own and UTSA was down seven, 48-41, on a Heineman three-pointer with 7:56 remaining. Raventos hit a three to extend the 49ers lead to 53-43 with 5:42 remaining. Charlotte created some distance behind free throws from Pearson and a Linney layup, expanding the lead to 15, 65-50 with 2:22 remaining. The advantage remained a double-digit lead and the 49ers had a 71-57 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Charlotte went on a 4-0 run to build an 18-point lead, 75-57, within the first minute. The Roadrunners then went on an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 10, 75-65, with 6:41 remaining in the fourth quarter. Raventos used two separate trips to the foul line and Robinson made a layup to extend their lead to 16, 85-69, with 2:07 remaining. Free throws by Linney and Amaya Ransom in the final minute put the game away.

Charlotte outscored UTSA in the paint 52-32.

“We made a commitment as a team that when we get home for this homestand that we were going to win three games and it has been really cool to see this team come together over the last two weeks. We’re playing the best basketball of the year and to see us make the commitment to reach it. We didn’t win these games by accident. We finally put together our best weeks of practice over the last two weeks. We’re becoming more consistent and you can see the result on the floor for us,” Head coach Cara Consuegra said. “I thought defensively we were okay today. It could have been a little bit better. Rebounding wise, that was the big difference for us blowing this open instead of letting them stay in striking distance. We have to continue to get better at that no doubt about it. Overall, just really excited about our team’s performance. You could go down the list.”

Charlotte goes on the road to face Louisiana Tech on Thursday. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.

 

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