The Charlotte 49ers are on a tear, and they will look to keep it up as they look to take on the UAB Blazers (11-11, 4-7 C-USA) tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN3. The Niners are coming of a historical win against FIU, a contest that saw senior Ciara Gregory break four records and saw Charlotte put up 101 points– the most ever under coach Cara Consuegra. Here’s what to expect from both teams as they prepare for tonight’s contest.
Scouting the Blazers
The Blazers come into tonight’s heat with a record of 11-11. They are coming off a tough 82-67 loss against UTSA. The Blazers have a tough time finishing games, as they have lost five conference games that were decided by five points or less. Like Charlotte, they played a tough non-conference schedule, with games against teams like No. 21 DePaul, No. 7 Florida State and Southern Illinois. With that being said, Charlotte will need to close this game out early and look to pull away to avoid any drama at the end.
UAB is led in scoring by freshman Rachael Childress. The forward averages 12.4 points and 3.6 boards per game, and she is the only consistent double-digit scorer. Other scoring threats include Miyah Barnes and Deanna Kuzmanic, who average 9.1 points apiece. Keonna Farmer is the leading rebounder on the squad, bringing 7.0 boards along with her 7.1 points to the table. The only other reliable rebounder is Kara Rawls, who brings 5.5 points and 5.1 boards off the pine for UAB.
As a team, the Blazers average 35.7 boards a game and surrender 36 to their opponents, while Charlotte grabs an average of 39.3. UAB also turns the ball over 14.8 times per game, while Charlotte coughs up the ball 15.3 times per game. However, UAB is lethal from three-point range. The Blazers shoot the three-ball at a 38.4 percent clip, and Childress (41.2 percent) and Kuzmanic (37.6 percent) both have hit more than 40 threes on the season and are automatic threats from downtown.
Building Blocks to Success
Charlotte has won two contests in a row, both on the road, after the home loss against Rice on January 28. Last game, Ciara Gregory dropped 32 points on the strength of nine three-pointers en route to a 101-54 win. In that game, she eclipsed the records for most threes made in a game (nine), career (204), most attempts in a season (208) and most makes in a season (75). That game raised her three-point percentage to 36 percent on the season and her scoring average to 14.8 points per game (15.9 in conference).
Grace Hunter has also been on a tear recently, as she put up a 26-point, 13 rebound double-double against FAU and followed that up with 22 points and 11 boards against FIU. Nyilah Jamison-Myers continues to improve, as her 14.8 points and 7.0 boards in conference play have given Charlotte a legitimate post threat down low. Opponents simply can’t guard her on the block, and when they try to, Gregory, Lefty Webster and Laia Raventos can make them pay from downtown.
Charlotte can thrive either playing their regular starting lineup or playing small-ball. Both lineups are effective, as the small ball lineup featuring Raventos, Gregory, Webster, Hunter and Jaida Robinson or Amaya Ransom can all shoot the rock or attack off the dribble. Hunter and Webster both are exceptional at rebounding for guards, and their shooting ability will continue to stifle opponents.
The game against UAB will tip off at 7 p.m. on ESPN3, and Charlotte will look to string together their third impressive performance in a row.