-1The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball team improved to 6-7 after an impressive 78-57 performance against the UNC Wilmington Seahawks (1-13) on Friday afternoon in front of a large crowd of local Charlotte elementary school kids for Education Day.

Gabby Tyler got the 49ers off to a solid start after a Ny Hammonds assist followed by sinking two free throws giving Charlotte a quick 4-0 lead. The Seahawks answered right back with four-straight points, but the 49ers wasted no time responding.

“It was great to see our team bounce back after a disappointing loss here a few nights ago,” said Head Coach Cara Consuegra.

“I thought we came out with a lot more energy, a lot more focus in terms of what we’re supposed to be doing. I thought it was just a fabulous team win for us.”

Charlotte went on a 6-0 run midway through the first half which gave the 49ers a comfortable 14-6 advantage.

Hillary Sigmon picked up the first three pointer of the game giving the 49ers a 19-10 lead when she was able to find her shot from just in front of a kid-filled press row. Sigmon finished the day with the only two deep buckets for the 49ers.

The Seahawks rallied back to cut the 49ers lead to seven, but Charlotte responded by answering with a 5-0 run to regain a double digit lead going up 29-17 with 3:52 to play in the first half.

At the half, the 49ers led 38-14 over the Seahawks. Charlotte went 15-30 (50.0 percent) from the field, 2-10 (20.0 percent) from deep and 6-9 (66.7 percent) from the line.

Tori Carter led the 49ers with eight points going into the locker room followed by Sigmon and Lefty Webster each with six points. Charlotte held a 16-8 advantage in shots in the paint and a 20-17 advantage in rebounds.

The 49ers came out of the locker room and quickly found the basket thanks to a Tyler layup. A Hammonds steal followed by a layup gave the 49ers a quick 4-0 start before UNCW could even find their first basket of the second half.

Tyler picked up her sixth double-figure scoring game of the season with just over 14 minutes left when she grabbed her own rebound and was able to sink a layup from the left side of the basket.

“It was good getting the rebounds, because we needed the extra opportunities,” said Tyler.

“We shot the ball really well, but we’ve been talking about rebounds a lot. We’ve been trying to get out there offensively and defensively, and we did that today.”

Coach Consuegra was forced to call two early timeouts in the second half as the Seahawks were finding their way to the basket.

After the second 49ers timeout, Ayanna Holmes made a great steal to assist Sigmon for two points giving the 49ers the momentum they were looking for late in the game.

The Seahawks got into foul trouble midway through the second half forcing the UNCW bench to try and keep the game going for their young team. UNCW’s leading rebounder Ryan Flowers fouled out finishing the game with four points and seven rebounds.

Carter scored her first two points of the second half on two free throws recording her second double figure scoring game of the season and she finished the day with a career-high 16 points.

“I never hold my head down. I always want to bring a spark off the bench. Today was the day. New year, new beginnings,” said Carter.

With just over two minutes to play, Coach Consuegra pulled all her starters allowing the young Charlotte bench to get some experience in a live game situation.

The 49ers closed out the game with a final score of 78-57 shooting 29-63 (46.0 percent) from the field, 2-13 (15.4 percent) from deep and 18-27 (66.7 percent) from the line with 11 different players contributing with points.

“We went into the game with a game plan as coaches to try to use our rotation more, and that’s exactly what we did,” said Coach Consuegra.

The solid shooting from the 49ers helped them post a team-high field goal percentage on the season

The team all walked off the court with smiles beaming from their winning faces as they wrapped up their non-conference campaign. The 49ers open up Conference USA play on Wednesday, Jan. 8 inside Halton Arena against Old Dominion at 7 p.m.

“I think this will help us a lot. Coached talked about pregame and you cant redo our 5-7 record, but what we can do is start today, and be a new team,” said Tyler.

“I think this win today is good for us and we needed it.”

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Libby Weihsmann is the 2013-2014 Sports Editor for the Niner Times. She is pursuing a Communications Studies degree with a concentration in Mass Media and a minor in Journalism at UNC Charlotte.

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