The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball team put on a clinic in a 98-46 thrashing of the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls on Saturday afternoon at Halton Arena in an exhibition contest. The 49ers looked sharp on the defensive side of the ball while forcing 27 Golden Bulls turnovers and deflecting over 40 pass attempts.
The 49ers opened the game on a 13-0 run through the first six minutes of play fueled by stifling full-court defense and impressive play from a couple of youngsters still getting used to playing on the college level. Charlotte’s defense forced 18 Johnson C. Smith turnovers throughout the first 20 minutes of action. The Golden Bulls scored just 17 points in the first half on 27.8 percent shooting from the field. The 49ers entered the locker room with a commanding 50-17 lead at halftime.
Sophomore forward Kira Gordon paced the 49ers offensively in the first half. Gordon finished the first 20 minutes with a team-high 11 points to go along with seven boards.
Charlotte kept their foot on the gas pedal early in the second half and jumped out to a 49-point lead at 72-23 with 13:35 remaining in the game. 49ers Head Coach Cara Consuegra emptied her bench midway through the second half giving some of her younger players some valuable time on the court as Charlotte coasted to an easy 52-point victory.
“I think this was a good first game for us. There were a lot of positives and that’s what I told the team in the locker room,” said Consuegra postgame.
“Obviously we played a lot of people and dispersed our minutes pretty evenly which was our game plan coming in. We wanted to see different combinations and start to figure out our rotation this year.”
Gordon spent the majority of the second half on the bench for Charlotte given the size of the lead but still finished with a team-high 15 points to go along with her eight rebounds in just 25 minutes of action. Gordon will be a key piece for Charlotte in the post as the season progresses after the departures of Jennifer Hailey and Amanda Dowe from last season’s squad.
“Since Jen and Amanda left we all have to step up in the paint, not just me,” said Gordon after the game. “It’s just different now. We have to score now and we have to rebound now. We don’t get as many blocked shots so we’ve really been focusing on boxing out in practice.”
The 49ers will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 8 when they face the Liberty Flames at Halton Arena. This is the first game in a double-header with the men’s team, tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.