Kennedy Hehr


Men’s basketball ends season with a win

In the 49er’s last game of the 2018-19 men’s basketball season, they got themselves a win on the road at Rice. With senior, Jon Davis leading the Niners with 28 points, four others were in double-digits as well. Malik Martin had 16 points, Dravon Mangum had 11 points, Cooper Robb had 10 points and Jailan Haslem had 10 points.

The first half consisted of three ties and multiple lead changes. Going back and forth in the beginning of the first half, a good dunk by Haslem after a fast break gave the 49ers some momentum as they tied the score at 7-7. A free throw by Davis tied the game at 13, then it was the Owls for six straight points following that. Rice was leading 24-19 with 5:41 left when Charlotte finished out the half with 14 of the 20 points scored, ending the half with a 33-30 lead. Bo Blight was good for a layup inside the paint with 6 seconds left to give the Niners a three-point lead.

Rice took the momentum in the start of the second half after scoring the first eight points, making it 38-33. A nine-point deficit at 47-38 called for some extra work from the Niners. Robb connected on a three and Davis added a free throw to cut the deficit to five. With another five points from Davis and a dunk from Haslem, Charlotte had seven straight points to give them the lead at 51-49. After the score tied at 55, the 49ers went on a 15-0 scoring run making it known who was going to win the game. Senior, Davis scored 14 of the 20 points in the run. He ended his collegiate basketball career with 2,113 points, third on the 49er all-time scoring list.

“I am happy we got the win. It was a hard fought victory tonight. I am glad that I could end my college career on a win. I am going to miss this University. Charlotte is home. The community, the athletic department and the fans have accepted me. Charlotte is a second home for me,” said Davis post-game.

The Charlotte men’s basketball team ended their season with a win over Rice 78-70.

Charlotte tops Charleston 15-9 with season-high runs

Charlotte softball set a season high for runs on Sunday, March 3 against College of Charleston, winning 15-9. It was their first game out of the past six that has been played in full and not called after five innings.

Charleston got their bats going early in the first, but so did Charlotte. Three hits and three runs for the Cougars gave Charlotte a chance to answer back right away — and they did. Kiersten Berrier started the order with a single to shortstop. Following that, hitting was contagious for the Niners. Katie Manring added another RBI to her stats after making contact. Lizzy Birch then doubled to right-field for an RBI. Ending the first with two left on base at 4-3 four errors from the Cougars gave the 49ers the lead.

With the bases loaded in the third, Dexlie Inman walked which tied the game after an unearned run. Charleston gained the lead at 5-4. Charlotte advanced ahead another two runs in the bottom of the third.

Bailey Vannoy was up to bat with the bases loaded for the Niners and reached first base on a fielder’s choice, gaining an RBI when Emily Ocker scored. It gave Charlotte a three-point lead over the Cougars, 8-5.

When Junior Chandler Sparkman singled to center-field, she rallied two RBIs that followed a previous run from the Cougars as well, giving them the lead over the Niners, 9-8 in the bottom of the fifth.

The Niners’ go-to, Manring, came up big for them with a double up the middle and two more RBIs to get the lead back. Charlotte scored seven total runs in the sixth inning, making the score 15-9. Charleston could not find a way to come back from it which gave the Niners their seventh win on the season.

The next game will be at North Carolina on Tuesday, Mar. 5 at 5 p.m.

Charlotte splits big on Saturday

Game 1: Charlotte 14, Wagner 6

After the Friday game against Wagner was canceled, Charlotte dominated on Saturday, March 2 winning by eight in only five innings and setting a new season high in runs (14) and hits (18).

With Charlotte starting down 0-2 to Wagner after the first inning, the 49ers got their bats going in the third. Two girls on base with Katie Manring up to bat is never a good sign for the other team. Manring has 15 RBIs on the season, two of which she gained while at bat in the bottom of the third. Imani Rochelle singled to shortstop, then Lizzy Birch had a three-run homer to left field, getting Rochelle and Manring in to make the score 6-2.

Wagner had no answer from the explosive 49er offense.

In the bottom of the fourth, Meredith Harris racked up two RBIs after Spenser Gray and Kiersten Berrier scored, making it 8-2.

Charlotte settled down and Wagner came back in the top of the fifth inning with four RBIs to make it 8-6, although the 49er offense was not worried. After Birch was hit by a pitch, she stole second and was closer to scoring position. Freshman Bailey Vannoy came in to pinch hit for Raegan Thompson and doubled for an RBI. Four more RBIs made the score 14-6 to end the game.

Game 2: Charlotte 0, Valparaiso 8

Coming off a big win, Charlotte looked to break even at 7-7 (.500). The Niners could not handle the offensive front that Valparaiso put up. Manring prolonged her active hitting along with Berrier but it wasn’t enough to get by the Crusaders.

The Crusaders first two runs were unearned; one on an error from Charlotte. The 49ers started down 0-2. In the top of the second, Manring doubled to second and Vannoy flied out to centerfield. Birch then grounded out, leaving Manring stranded on third in scoring position.

Valparaiso scored another run in the third and five runs in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 0-8. The Niner offense could not come up with anything to spike some offense and the game was called.

The next game will be in Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium on Sunday, March 3 at 12:30 p.m.

Charlotte on a four game win streak

The Charlotte women’s basketball team earned their fourth win-in-a-row after topping FIU on Saturday, March 2. A remarkable performance from Jade Phillips led the 49ers to their third road win.

Phillips had another double-double with career highs in points (32) and rebounds (15). She went 14-24 overall and 10 of her 15 rebounds were on defense.

Charlotte started with all the momentum after getting off to a 7-3 lead over the Panthers. A three-pointer from Mariah Linney at with 5:05 left in the first quarter made the lead go from one to four. A lay-up from Phillips in the paint started the night off for her after making the score 10-4. FIU came back late in the first to end it at 12-8.

Linney started off the second quarter with another shot from downtown, pushing the lead to seven. The Panthers went on a 6-0 scoring run trying to close the gap. The star of the night ended the FIU run by driving the paint and scoring two. With 5:03 left in the half, a fast-break called for a jumper from Bre’Osha Scott, giving FIU the lead at 20-19. Phillips scored the last eight points for the 49ers, putting them on top 25-24 at half.

Phillips started the second half just like she ended the first. She went on a scoring run for Charlotte again, but this time it was 12 points. The lead was 15, at 41-26 with 4:01 left in the third. FIU would not go away though, they went on another run, this one was 10-0.

Starting the fourth on top at 46-38, FIU got within two with 3:08 left in the game after going on a 7-0 run. Phillips last drive to the paint made for a five-point lead and two drained free throws each from Jada McMillian and Octavia Jett-Wilson ended the game at 62-53. It was a big win for the 49ers as they look to improve their seed for the C-USA Tournament.

“It’s not just the stats; it’s Jade’s urgency. The results come statistically but she really challenged our team to play better and they did.” said Head Coach Cara Consuegra post-game, regarding Phillip’s performance.

The next game will be at Halton Arena for Senior Night on Thursday, March 7 at 7 p.m.

Charlotte struggles against the NC State Wolfpack

The Charlotte softball team was taken down in only five innings by the NC State Wolfpack on Wednesday, Feb. 28. A lot of action took place right away in the beginning.

The 49ers started down 0-4 in the first inning. Four hits and four runs for NC State gave them a solid lead right away. Four of the five batters up for Charlotte in the bottom of the first made contact but could not get the ball past the Wolfpack defense. It was a quick offensive round for the Niners while leaving two on base.

A home run down the right field line from NC State’s Bridgette Nordberg in the second inning called for two RBIs, making the score 0-6. No answer from the Niners again.

After walking a player with the bases loaded, another run was scored. Following that, Nordberg hit a grand slam to advance to 0-12 in the third.

Charlotte got their first point on the board after an RBI from Katie Manring to get Spenser Gray in to score in the bottom of the third. Alison Green came in to pitch and tied her career high with six strikeouts and not giving up any runs. The 49ers answered with another run in the bottom of the fifth.

The game was called after that, making the final score 2-12 with a tough loss for Charlotte.

The next game is at Daughtridge Stadium against Wagner on Friday, Mar. 1 at 1:30 p.m.

A slump at the end resulted in a 49er loss

The action against Morehead State began in the third inning when Morehead State went up 0-2 on Charlotte. The 49ers answered back right away when Carter Foster had a single home run in the bottom of the third to get the Niners on the board. What a debut  it was for the freshman’s first career start.

Ryan Czanstkowski started pitching for Charlotte in the fourth inning. A double play from SS, Carson Johnson, made for two outs at second base and first. A pop fly out centerfield ended the inning with one hit for the Eagles.

Another pitching change for MSU came in the fourth to Landon Weins after Carson Johnson reached first base on a fielding error. Patrick Wheeler advanced to second and Ober scored to tie it at 2-2. With the bases loaded, Harris Yett flied out to centerfield to end the inning.

A single in the bottom of the fifth for Josh Haney racked up an RBI to get Drew Ober in past home plate, giving the 49ers their first lead of the game. Haney’s batting percentage was .333 and Dominick Cammarata’s was a whopping .500. Wheeler hit .250 overall with the same on base percentage as well.

A swing down the leftfield line from MSU Jake Hamon with two on base allowed for an RBI to tie the score 3-3 in the top of the eighth. Senior pitcher, Chase Gooding, came in to close the game for the Niners. Gooding walked Hunter Fain, which loaded the bases. A bomb hit near the warning track caught by Ober saved the Eagles from a grand slam. The hit rallied another run making the score 3-4, Charlotte down.

Two strikeouts in a row for Weins and a groundout made for no answer from Charlotte’s batting in the eighth. A run scored in the top of the ninth from MSU made the score 3-5. Charlotte could not get the bats going at the end to get runs. The final score was 3-5 giving the 49ers their fourth loss.

“It is just not as consistent as it needs to be and our guys understand that.” said Coach Hibbs.

The next game will be at Hayes Stadium on Friday, Mar. 1 at 3 p.m.

Start strong, finish stronger

The Charlotte 49ers participated in the 2019 Air Force Reserve Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday, Feb. 16 and Sunday, Feb. 17 in Birmingham, Ala. There were multiple podium finishes, first place winners and national qualifiers. Both the men’s and the women’s team finished second with the men behind Middle Tennessee by 19 and women behind Rice by only three.


While the men took second overall, they had some good finishes that led to a few qualifications for the USA Track and Field National Indoor Championships.

A senior and veteran of the 49er program, Stevan Veselinovic, took home the gold medal for weight throwing for the fourth-consecutive year. He set a new school record with a throw of 20.48m (67’2.25”).

Three silver medals came from Markel Dalton, Jayon Woodard and Terrell Adams. Dalton took second in triple jump at 15.50m (50’11.50”) which was a new personal record and the third-best in Charlotte history. Woodard was projected to win but took second in the 400m race. With a time of 46.81, he earned eight points for the team. Adams took the silver as well with a spot of 17.76m (58’3.25”).

Another personal record from the weekend was made by Christian Bass in the 60m race with a time of 6.82 seconds, tying the fourth-fastest in program history. He took fifth on Saturday and sixth on Sunday with a time of 6.93 seconds. Bass also competed in the 200m race and took third on Saturday, with a time of 21.23 seconds which is the second-best all time as a 49er. On Sunday, he took sixth with a time of 21.65 seconds. Accompanying Bass in the 200m race was Nico Menzel who finished fifth with a time of 21.55 seconds.

Nolan Patrick qualified for Sunday’s 800m race after a fourth-place finish on Saturday with a time of 1:53.51. He took fourth again on Sunday after running a 1:53.00, sixth-fastest in Charlotte history.

Taking the fourth, fifth and sixth place finishes in the men’s 3000m were 49ers. Paul Arredondo set a new personal record with a time of 8:23.16, placing fourth. Zach Marchinko ran in a time of 8:23.38, taking fifth. While redshirt senior and SAAC President, Tom Nobles, finished at 8:24.25 with sixth place.

With sixth and seventh place finishes, Brent Carroll and Anthony Richardson moved into Sunday with times of 8.11 and 8.12 on the 60m hurdles. Carroll ended on Sunday by just missing a podium finish and taking fourth after 7.99 seconds.


The women placed second as well, missing the top spot by only a few points. They had several medalists and some qualifications for the USA T&F Championships.

Two freshmen, Riley Felts and Kyra Atkins, won their events after showing their talent. Felts earned the gold medal on pole vault with a mark of 3.96m (12’11.75”) which was a new Charlotte record. She was also named Freshman of the Meet by C-USA. Atkins took home the gold in the 60m hurdles after 8.31 seconds.

There were plenty of women that took third and received a bronze medal. Jade Jordan set a new personal record in the long jump with a mark of 5.91m (19’4.75”) while placing third. She also competed in the triple-jump, putting her at the second best in Charlotte women’s history with a mark of 12.65m (41’6”). She finished fifth on Sunday. The distance medley relay team earned a bronze medal as well with a time of 12:09.67, involving Bridget Abbatiello, Ashlan Bowdry, D’Amani Bryant and Alyssa Ungrady. Amaka Awuurounye received bronze in the high jump with a mark of 1.71m (5’7.25”). The 4x400m relay team consisting of Kiana Lee, Maya Singletary, Jasmine Parquet and Cemere Petty took third after a time of 3:43.43.

USA Track & Field National Indoor Championships

The men who will compete in the USA T&F Championships in Staten Island, NY are Dalton (triple-jump), Woodard (300m), Richardson (60m hurdles) and Carroll (60m hurdles). The only woman who will be competing is Atkins in the 60m hurdles as well. These five individuals have a chance of qualifying for the NCAA Championship.

“The meet is still within the qualifying window for NCAA indoor championship qualifying so in some cases our athletes have the opportunity to move up the national performance list as the championship field is selected and finalized next week,” Olesen said. “NCAA qualifying aside it’s likely we will see personal bests, all-time team top-10s and a school record this weekend in New York.”

The USA T&F Championships will not only give the 49ers a chance to appear in the NCAA tournament, but it will set the stage for the outdoor season as well.

49ers take a tough loss on the road

The Charlotte 49ers took on Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. The Niners have been looking for ways to improve their record, but they cannot seem to catch the wins that they are needing.

With three players in double-digit scoring figures, it was still not enough to get a road win. Senior leader, Jon Davis had 23 points, while 20 of them came in the second half. Malik Martin and Dravon Mangum also contributed with 17 points and 11 points, respectively.

In the beginning, Charlotte started down 5-12. Mangum got the Niners back in it with a three from downtown and Martin added four more points after good free throws and a layup, tying the score 12-12.

The lead only changed twice throughout the game without any ties. MTSU led nearly the entire game and the 49ers just couldn’t catch up.

The biggest difference seemed to be the shooting percentages from each team. In the first half, Charlotte’s field goal percentage was 50, while MTSU was at a solid 69 percent. The three-point percentage had the Niners at 22.22 percent and Middle Tennessee shot 66.67 percent from downtown.

At the end of the first half, the score was 32-48 with the Niners down 16.

Being down 53-69 with 9:08 left in the second half, a three-pointer from Mangum and back to back threes from Davis plus a layup put their score up to 61. Davis scored six three-pointers throughout the game. The problem was that MTSU’s offense was unstoppable. During the 49er scoring run, Middle Tennessee did the same with back to back threes, making the score 61-75.

The largest lead of the game for MTSU was 22 points with 1:01 left. The Niners could not battle back from such a large deficit, which kept them behind all game. The final score was 67-86.  A tough loss for Charlotte on the road puts them at 6-20 overall.

The Niners returns to Halton Arena for senior night on Sunday, Mar. 3 at 1 p.m. against UTEP.

Charlotte falls to Clemson in a close one

As the 49ers took on the Clemson Tigers in SC on Monday, Feb. 18, Charlotte looked to increase their record to 4-0.

Charlotte was scoreless the first five innings while Clemson racked up six runs, three of which were home runs and one added two RBIs. The tiger defense was hard to get by in order for the 49ers to score. Furthermore, the Clemson offense was unstoppable as well. Not only were the first five innings scoreless for the Niners, but second through the fifth saw three batters up and three down before you knew it.

The top of the sixth inning got something going for Charlotte, due to an RBI from Drew Ober to get Patrick Wheeler past home plate to put their first run on the board. While two 49ers got hit by pitches in the sixth, it was worth the pain to get some guys on base and in scoring position. A double down the third base line from Harris Yett gave him an RBI which resulted in Ober scoring. Rafi Vazquez singled up the middle which allowed for two RBIs after Yett and Johnson crossed home plate. There were two pitching changes for Clemson to see if someone could stop the scoring run from Charlotte. A great inning for the 49ers offense got them right back in the game at 4-6 while their defense kept Clemson from scoring.

At the top of the seventh, Todd Elwood came in to pinch hit for Jake Whitcomb. He bunted to get on first then advanced to second after a throwing error by Clemson pitcher in which Wheeler scored to put the score at 5-6.

The score remained the same until the bottom of the eighth when Clemson OF Bryce Teodosio homered to left off Charlotte pitcher Carson Pinkney. The 49ers defense got out of that inning with only one run scored.

In Charlotte’s last chance to win the game, the top of the ninth was interesting. After Wheeler got hit by a pitch, he advanced to second shortly after. Austin Lynch then doubled to right center to get Wheeler in to score 6-7. With two outs and a 2-2 count, Ober struck out swinging to end the game and give Charlotte their first loss.

The next game will be on Friday, Feb. 22 against Canisius at 3 p.m. at Hayes Stadium.

Niners go 1-1 at Gamecock Invitational

The 49ers headed to Columbia, SC for their second set of road games, seeking some wins at the Gamecock Invitational to improve their 2-5 record so far.

Game 1: Charlotte 6, Ohio 8 

On Sunday, Feb. 17 at 4 p.m., the 49ers took on Ohio University. It was a rough start, but Charlotte would not go down without a fight. Ohio put the beginning point on the board in the first inning while Charlotte didn’t put up their first run until the third. The scoring run came from Kiersten Berrier on an RBI from Meredith Harris. In the top of the fifth and bottom of the sixth, it was all Ohio pulling away, adding seven points to the board.

The first six innings were all Ohio with eight runs scored and only two from Charlotte. With Ohio batting in the top of the seventh, Charlotte defense kept them from scoring any more. In their final chance to tie or go for the win, Charlotte came back fighting. Jude McGough racked up an RBI to get Lizzy Birch to score.

Getting towards the bottom of the batting order, freshman Raegan Thompson walked to load the bases for senior Emma Ocker up next. Ocker had two RBIs to get McGough and Doty through home plate, making the score 5-8. Bases were loaded again after a bunt from Berrier, which ultimately led to Harris putting Ocker on third and Thompson scoring.

Following an exciting seventh inning for Charlotte’s offense, the 49ers fell to Ohio 8-6.

Game 2: Charlotte 10, Campbell 4

Charlotte hoped to bounce back after a loss for their 6 p.m. game against Campbell, the school that sophomore Katie Manring transferred from.

After a scoreless first inning, Charlotte and Campbell were split at 1-1 after the third. In the fourth, Campbell scored three to put the Niners down 4-1. With two on base, Imani Rochelle singled to first while racking up an RBI after Berrier scored. Birch then doubled down the left field line to advance Rochelle to third and have Harris score. Manring was next up to bat with a groundout and RBI. Following this, an RBI from Bailey Vannoy gave Birch the opportunity to score which gave the 49ers the lead, 5-4.

In the 49ers final series at bat in the top of the seventh, they scored four more runs to increase their lead to 10-4. Runs were scored by Vannoy and Manning with two RBIs from Doty. A triple from Ocker then racked up two more runs.

After Campbell’s last at-bat, they could not reach the 49ers which resulted in a final score of 10-4.

The Niners will be back in action on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. against UNC Greensboro.

Niners struggle on the road and dominate at home

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.

Niners take down UAB in a thriller

Both teams are 16-16 when they’ve met. The 49er women’s basketball team looked to top the UAB Blazers in their 33rd face off and improve their C-USA record to 5-7 and home record to 11-2.

Laia Raventós scored the first bucket for the Niners by driving in the paint. Jade Phillips started off aggressive on both sides of the ball. UAB led the entire first quarter after Charlotte tied four times. UAB established several players in the first quarter which made Charlotte’s defense work hard to stay in it. The first quarter ended with a score of 12-14 after a layup at the buzzer from Phillips.

Charlotte struggled through the first half of the second quarter to get a lead. Freshman Jada McMillan played the entire second quarter. After 13 minutes of play, Phillips had 10 points and eight rebounds. Late in the second, Raventós was sent to the line for the first 49ers free throws of the game and made both shots to tie the score 26-26. The half ended at 28-28 after a drained shot by Raventós. The third quarter was point for point until Charlotte broke away after a jumper from McMillan to make the score 43-36.

After starting down two in the fourth at 44-46, Charlotte would not let UAB get too far away. The first three-pointer of the game for the 49ers came with 7:29 left and gave Charlotte all the momentum they needed to finish strong. The 49ers defense was tremendous in the fourth quarter, holding UAB’s field goal percentage to 27%. Phillips drained back to back threes resulting in a 58-55 lead for the 49ers. With 11 seconds left, the 49ers took a timeout while they were up 58-56. After a foul on Hithe, she drained both free throws to put the lead to four which resulted in the final score being 60-56 and a thrilling win over UAB for the 49ers.

Jade Phillips ended with 20 points and 12 rebounds for her second double-double game in a row.

“I’ve been talking to this team so much about trying to close the gap from the team that we are to the team that we want to be,” said Coach Consuegra. “Every game and every set back is helping us [and] I thought today [that] we closed that gap.”

The 49ers will host ODU on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. in Halton Arena.

Returning to his roots

Born and raised in Asheville, NC, Jordan Shepherd has returned to his home state to become a Charlotte 49er. The son of Kimberly Green and Charles Shepherd and brother of Londyn has been one heck of a basketball star since the age of three. With a clear passion for the game, Shepherd stuck with the sport of basketball all his life.

Jordan Shepherd attended Asheville Christian Academy and played for Coach Andy Ray. During the 2015-16 season, he was named the Carolina’s Athletic Association’s Player of the Year as a senior. How can you not earn that honor when you average 19.2 points, 5.1 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game? He was also named to the NCISAA 2-A All-State team. His junior year of high school, he was offered by Charlotte to come play with the men’s basketball program.

Being the great player that he is, he had many other offers and he had to consider his options. Shepherd originally committed to James Madison, but he decided to open his recruitment following a coaching change announcement. After his AAU and senior season had come to a close, he was being recruited by a top ranked program, Oklahoma University in Norman. Shortly after, he ended up committing to be a Sooner.

Shepherd saw action in 59 games in two-years at Oklahoma with four career starts. He averaged 3.2 points during his OU career and added five double-digit scoring games. On Dec. 17, 2016, he tallied a career-high 18 points against Memphis. When Oklahoma played Rhode Island in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, Shepherd saw his last 10 minutes of action as a Sooner and drained both of his field goal attempts.

Following his sophomore season at Oklahoma University, he decided to enter the NCAA transfer portal. OU did not seem to be the right fit for Shepherd as it was too far from home for the North Carolina native. He realized after two years that he wanted to pursue other options and see what other opportunities were out there for him. Shepherd stated that Coach Ron Sanchez was recruiting him while he was still the coach at the University of Virginia before he knew he received the job as the head coach at Charlotte.

They built a good relationship during the process of Coach Sanchez’s school change and Shepherd’s transfer process. When Sanchez got the job at Charlotte, Jordan committed to be a 49er. One of the reasons he picked Charlotte was for the opportunity to lead a young team and reach his own maximum potential at the same time.

“Jordan is an outstanding addition to the Niners basketball family,” Sanchez said. “His playing experience at the highest level of college basketball will add maturity to our first incoming class. His leadership and character are invaluable qualities that will assist our program greatly.”

Another reason for making the switch to Charlotte was because it is only a two-hour commute to his hometown. He likes having the ability to go home to see family and friends on the free weekends he has available.

“It has been great; I love the city, my team and being around people here in Charlotte.” said Shepherd.

Even though Shepherd is a junior and lives with upperclassmen, he really clicked with the freshmen when he first came in. That’s not abnormal as a transfer because everyone is entering into a new environment and learning how to adapt.

A lot of things solidified his stance in knowing he made the right decision in coming to Charlotte and playing for Coach Sanchez and his staff.

“Every day. I come into practice every day, and with the things that we do, I’m very sure I made the right decision.” said Shepherd.

Out of all collegiate sports, men’s basketball seems to last the longest. With that being said, the free time may be minimal. Shepherd enjoys working out, reading, watching movies and hanging out with the guys. If you’re looking for a book suggestion, he recommends “The Alchemist.

Per the NCAA rule of sitting out a year after transferring, Shepherd has not been participating in gameplay during the 2018-19 season. He has plenty of goals for next season, individually and collectively for his team as well. He wants to be the best player he can be, be a 50-40-90 guy, as well as earn the honor of being Conference Player of the Year. Shepherd believes in his team right now and for next year, but they lack some maturity. With his knowledge of the game and involvement at the highest level, he will be a great asset in his next two seasons of eligibility. His experience will carry over.

In Conference USA, anybody can win and a ring is on Shepherd’s mind, without a doubt. While being a junior, Shepherd is in a leadership role. Especially with having to sit out, he knows it is his role this season to help the underclassmen get better, while also pushing the older guys as well.

“These young guys, they’re new to the whole college basketball experience so I try to challenge them in different ways every day.” Shepherd said.

The Charlotte 49er men’s basketball team has had a rough season so far and Shepherd is looking forward to getting out there and contributing as much as possible next season. Those who know him know how eager he is to lace up his game shoes and play the sport he loves in front of people. While he is ready to accomplish his goal of joining the 50-40-90 club, he has done a great job in his role on the team this year.

“It’s been really tough, this is the first time in my life where I haven’t been able to play basketball in front of people; had to sit out and had to watch. It’s definitely a burning fire.” said Shepherd.

He is more than ready to take on the 2019-20 basketball season, so do not miss Shepherd in action next basketball season in Halton Arena!

Niners crush the Miners

Going into the match up against UTEP on Saturday evening, the Charlotte Women’s Basketball team looked to break even in conference at 4-4 and they did just that.

UTSA came dressed out with only seven players. The Niners started with aggressive defensive right away, and continued that through the duration of the game. There were multiple contributors, but the stats highlight Mariah Linney with 17 points and Octavia Jett-Wilson with 12. Jett-Wilson started the game off with a steal to make the 49ers score in transition. Following, she pushed the lead to five with a three. To go up double the points in the first quarter, Linney buries a three from downtown to make the score 14-7.

To start off the second quarter, Christian Hithe makes a slick move in the paint to put two up on the board and before you know it, she has a steal and another layup as well. Harris was giving UTEP’s Ariana Taylor all the work in the paint and keeping her scoring to a minimum. Linney made back to back three-pointers to give the 49ers a 20-point lead before half at 37-17.

Charlotte came out on fire again in the second half. Linney continued to drain from outside the arc. After that, the stars of the game connected for a play: Linney to Jett-Wilson for three to make it 43-24. It was all Charlotte in the third quarter and UTEP did not have an answer. Toward end of the third, Linney finished her evening with her third steal and fifth three-pointer to put the Niners ahead of the Miners 26 at 55-29.

Towards the end, the Niners did not let UTEP catch up.

“It is important that we play well and win games by a large margin. Obviously it was a fantastic defensive effort from our team, ” said Coach Consuegra post game.

The final score was 62-39 with the Charlotte 49ers on top. The Niners are now 4-4 in C-USA play and will look for more next week in Texas.

The next game will be on the road at Rice on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m.