Most teams would say it’s harder to play on the road. You don’t have your fans, the comfort of your own court, and other factors that can play a role, but you have to find a way to win. The Charlotte women’s basketball team would agree. Is it because of the fan base? Offense? Defense?
With a dominant home record of 11-2 in Halton Arena, the team struggles on the road at 1-9. Some of the road losses in the beginning were by a larger margin than anyone would have wanted. As the season has been underway, the team has been producing more offensively and been more aggressive defensively, resulting in closer scoring games.
While averaging 62.5 points a game offensively, that puts Charlotte at No. 9 in Conference USA. On the other side of the ball, they jump three spots to No. 6 on the defensive scoring list. The average shooting percentage for the 49ers is .412; their home percentage is .388 while their road percentage is higher at .394. Jade Phillips is No. 14 in CUSA with 103 FG with Mariah Linney and Laia Raventós not far behind.
However, the 49ers are at a constant battle to get some three-pointers to fall while on the road at away games. Their three-point percentage at home is .423 while their away percentage is .255. With the difference of three-point percentage being .168, this is having an impact on the 49er offense. While Linney is No. 5 in the conference for 3FG with 45 and Raventos is No. 8 with 37, Charlotte is needing more to win in the opponent’s environment. Linney and Raventós are a strong backcourt duo for the 49ers.
The 49er women’s basketball team is young this 2018-19 season and lack some experience. They cannot find a way to play strong all four quarters and close out games on the road, which is one of the things leading to games resulting in losses. The scores are extremely close and often have Charlotte leading at the half. Being able to keep pressure on the opponent and close out games comes with maturity and experience, especially in another team’s gym.
The Charlotte offense could use Octavia Jett-Wilson’s experience right now, especially on the road. She isn’t knocking down free throws the same as last year or delivering in the same form, but there is no doubt that when she gets in her rhythm, she’ll be a big help for the 49ers.
With a dominating record of 10-1 at home, North Texas gave the 49ers their second home loss on Thursday, Feb. 7 with a score of 63-68. Charlotte had the lead early in the third and let it slip away by taking the pressure off North Texas. It’s crucial to play a full 40 minutes in order to win at this level, especially at this point in the season. Every team is playing to put themselves in a good position for the conference tournament, and some are fighting for a spot altogether.
Charlotte came out on top of UAB on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 60-56 which was a huge win for the 49ers. It gave the Niners lots of momentum going into their last couple conference games, two of which are on the road. Jade Phillips is putting up big numbers on both sides of the ball for the 49ers and her experience is helping the team grow. She recorded her second double-double in a row, after 20 points and 12 rebounds.
“I’ve been talking to this team over the last month so much about trying to close the gap from the team that we are to the team that we want to be, and that the gap wasn’t very big,” said Head Coach Cara Consuegra post-UAB win. “Tonight, we closed that gap and we were the team that we can be.”
As Charlotte looks ahead to their last four conference games in regular season play, they need to just “focus on the streaks,” as Coach Consuegra says, especially in the fourth quarter. Also, if they can get some more buckets to fall from behind the arc on the road, they should see themselves coming out on top. Another key is to keep the pressure on all 40 minutes and close at the end.
The Niners have two home and two away games left before they head to the conference tournament in Frisco, Texas. Consuegra and her staff will continue to prepare their team as best they can in hopes their girls follow the game plan and get as many wins as possible until the season comes to a close.
The 49ers will host ODU on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m.