Griffin Dempsey guards the Lady Monarchs' guard along the perimeter. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Griffin Dempsey guards the Lady Monarchs’ guard along the perimeter. Photo by Benjamin Robson

The Charlotte 49ers failed to find their rhythm in their matinee showdown with Old Dominion, Jan. 4, suffering defeat in the conference opener, 71-59.

“Honestly, it’s not a huge surprise that we took this loss,” 49ers head coach Cara Consuegra said. “I told the team in the locker room after the game that one of the principles that I live by in my life is you get what you earn. We had three, very average days in practice leading up to this game and we played very average. So it wasn’t too much of a surprise that we came out as flat as we did.”

Charlotte struggled from the get-go as the Lady Monarchs jumped out to an early 10-2 lead. Old Dominion’s four minute offense spell ended abruptly due to a media timeout but the Lady Monarchs following a 2-point jumper from Annika Holopainen. Out of the timeout Charlotte enjoyed an eight point scoring run but struggled to maintain the offensive production within the final two minutes of the quarter.

Entering the second stanza, Charlotte faced an eight point deficit. They started the quarter scoring the first two points which snowballed into a 7-2 run, cutting Old Dominion’s lead to three points. Again, Charlotte struggled to consistently score allowing the Lady Monarchs to rebuild their lead. Kira Gordon converted a layup in the final 60 seconds of the half drawing the 49ers within seven points as the buzzer sounded.

“We were very subpar, especially in the first half, in terms of the game plan,” Consuegra said.

As the second half rolled around, Charlotte proved they made adjustments mounting an early third quarter comeback. Again, the 49ers scored first trimming the deficit to three points. Destinee Young halted Charlotte’s run with a short range jumper at the 6:27 mark. To the 49ers’ dismay, the early six points from Alexis Alexander and Gordon were ultimately the only field goals from Charlotte in the quarter.

Grace Hunter. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Grace Hunter. Photo by Benjamin Robson

Charlotte turned their performance around in the fourth period, scoring 21 points but the double-digit deficit proved to be too much to overcome.

“Everyone gets excited about our ability to score, and tonight we just didn’t have it,” Consuegra said. “We missed a lot of shots we normally make. But that’s basketball; that’s why you play the game. You aren’t going to make every shot and that’s why we have to grow as a defensive team.”

Despite falling to Old Dominion and only scoring 59 points, 20 less than their average, Webster provided a silver lining for the 49ers hampering the Lady Monarchs leading scorer Jennie Simms.

“I think the one bright spot defensively was Lefty Webster. She played the game plan perfectly on Jennie Simms and made everything difficult for her,” Consuegra said. “She finished with 18 but a lot of those were late free throws, I’m not sure we could have played her much better and that’s a great credit to Lefty.”

Charlotte will look to put the loss behind them as they prepare for their midweek matchup with Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles are set to visit Halton Arena Thursday, Jan. 7 for a noon tip-off.

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Jared Allen is the Sports Editor for the Niner Times. He has been involved with the newspaper since August 2014. In addition to being a part of the Niner Times, he hosts "The 91st Minute Radio" and calls play-by-play for the Charlotte 49ers men's and women's soccer teams on Radio Free Charlotte. Aside from being a sports (predominantly soccer) fanatic, he enjoys blogging, traveling and occasional backpacking. You can contact him at sports@ninertimes.com

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