The Charlotte 49ers (10-15) women’s basketball team traveled to Louisiana Tech (13-12) on Thursday, Feb. 19 to take on the Lady Techsters. The 49ers had a stellar first half, but the Lady Techsters stormed from behind to capture their 13th win of the season as the 49ers fell 71-61.
At the start of the game Charlotte was ignited by Kira Gordon who sank her first three shots giving her six points in the first five minutes of play. Louisiana Tech tried to counter the 49ers hot start by pushing the tempo to score all of their baskets in transition. Going into the first media timeout, Charlotte led 8-7.
The Lady Techsters started to gain momentum from their fast paced offensive attack when they went on an 8-0 run giving them a 15-11 lead. The 49ers weathered a scoring drought and regained the lead when Gordon sank a jumper and then Cierra Gregory nailed a 3-pointer putting Charlotte up three at 20-17.
As time dwindled down in the first half, Kenya Olley hit a clutch jump shot to fend off a surging Louisiana Tech run.
Both teams battled tooth and nail; however the 49ers went into the break with a 28-26 lead. Charlotte was led by Gordon with nine points, Kendra Olley with eight points and Ayanna Holmes who dished out four assists. As a team Charlotte shot 46 percent from the field and had 14 rebounds.
Louisiana Tech was led by Whitney Frazier who had eight points, six rebounds and one assist. The Lady Techsters shot 44 percent from the field and had 16 rebounds, just narrowly out-rebounding the 49ers.
The highlight of the first half was the play of Charlotte’s Gordon and Olley. Both players provided a spark to the 49ers lineup in the absence of Lefty Webster and Alexis Alexander.
The second half started in the same fashion as the first. Hillary Sigmon hit her second 3-pointer of the game and Louisiana Tech answered with a transition layup by Chrisstasia Walter. Walter’s quick bucket triggered a Lady Techsters 12-0 run which was eventually stopped by a Holmes jump shot at the 15-minute mark.
Over a five minute span the 49ers only scored four points as Louisiana Tech continued on a 23-4 run. The Lady Techsters dominated the boards which translated to easy baskets. Charlotte’s scoring drought was compounded by over 20 turnovers as they tried to claw their way back into the game.
Despite the scoring efforts by Gordon and Olley, the 49ers could not handle the offensive attack of Louisiana Tech. With eight minutes remaining Charlotte was down 20 points and their comeback hopes were diminishing as the Lady Techsters tallied four players in double digits.
At the four minute mark Olley’s jump shot gave her 12 points which topped her previous career high of 10 points against Western Kentucky.
With 2:06 remaining Charlotte trailed 66-54 and was eyeing a comeback victory. The 49ers were able to cut the lead to 10 points on a Gregory 3-pointer; however, there was only one minute remaining. As the final buzzer sounded Charlotte’s comeback came up short as Louisiana Tech was able to close out the game with a 71-61 victory.
The Lady Techsters leading scorer was Frazier with 20 points and eight rebounds and Walter ended with 13 points and 10 assists.
The 49ers were led by Gordon who finished with 16 points and Olley who had a career-high 14 points.
“She was tremendous in so many aspects. We knew this was coming. It has been a build up over the past three weeks in practice. I told her after the game that she needs to attack every game with the same mentality,” said Charlotte head coach Cara Consuegra on Olley’s outstanding performance.
Charlotte will take on Southern Miss. on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. as they look to bounce back and get a much needed win.