Charlotte’s Alexis Alexander couldn’t miss Sunday afternoon in the 49ers’ matinee showdown with Robert Morris. Alexander led Charlotte to victory scoring 30 points, shooting 80 percent from the floor while nearly sinking all eight of her foul shots. Up and unders, spin moves, drop steps and face-up jumpers all factored into Alexander’s career night in Halton Arena.
After Ciara Gregory thrived from behind the arc Friday, Nov. 13, it was clear there would be opportunity for another 49er to shine in the spotlight as the Gregory drew the double-team early. The writing was on the wall from the get-go. Alexander contributed to the 49ers 10 first quarter points finishing a layup one minute into the quarter and sinking a face-up jumper late.
As the second quarter rolled around, Alexander was perfect from the field, tallying nine more points. She led and rallied the 49ers from a seven point deficit.
Alexander entered the second quarter with five minutes left in the half. At the time, Charlotte trailed the Colonials by three points.
Alexander contributed immediately. She pulled down a defense rebound, one of her eight total, sprinted up the floor, received a pass from Gregory and rose up above the Robert Morris defender. Alexander pulled the 49ers within one point. Two minutes later, Alexander faced up her defender once more and drained a shot over the towering Colonial defender, Megan Smith. The bucket gave Charlotte the lead in which they didn’t relinquish for the remaining 23 minutes.
The storyline was the same in the final two quarters. Charlotte fed the senior forward the ball on nearly every occasion as Robert Morris didn’t have an answer for her hot hand. Alexander only missed one shot in each of the remaining two quarters as she went on to tally a career-high 30 points.
“There was at one point when I didn’t want anyone else to shoot but her,” Charlotte assistant coach Nicole Woods said. “She’s always been very skilled down in the post but she’s really bought into the team concept and they’re really looking to get her the ball and she’s made good passes out when she doesn’t have anything. She’s going to be key to our success this year.”
As impressive as her shooting performance was, Alexander added three assists throughout the four quarters. On paper, the statistic doesn’t jump of the page but Alexander drew the double-team nearly every time she received the ball in paint. This freed up teammates such as Gregory, Lefty Webster and Kira Gordon who all knocked down shots late to seal the win.
Through two games, exceptional play from one 49er in particular has created an ideal team basketball environment. Charlotte proved in their opening weekend that they have players at all five positions who can score the basketball. As long as their opponents are over-committing to one name in particular, prolific scorers such as Gregory and Webster will be left open on the floor.