After losing a pivotal Conference USA matchup against UTEP 82-76 in overtime, Charlotte travels eight hours halfway across Texas to take on the UTSA Roadrunners (6-15, 2-8).
“They always play well at home. We haven’t had an easy battle here anytime in Conference USA,” Charlotte Head Coach Cara Consuegra said. “We have the same approach in every single game. We want to play our best and execute the game plan.”
The Roadrunners enter Saturday’s game against the 49ers desperate for a win after losing their previous seven matchups. During their last seven games, UTSA was outscored by a combined 103 points. Furthermore, the Roadrunners possess the conference’s worst scoring margin with a -13.6.
UTSA averages 61.3 points per game, good for 13th best in C-USA. In major offensive statistical categories, including scoring margin, free throw percentage, field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage, offensive rebounding and assists, the Roadrunners rank below the top ten teams in C-USA.
Despite being one of the least productive offenses in C-USA, the Roadrunners boast two of the top-15 individual scorers in C-USA: Mikayla Woods and Adryana Quezada. The Roadrunners’ backcourt duo comprised of Woods and Quezada average 15.4 and 13.3 ppg, respectively. Junior guard Karrington Donald is the Roadrunners’ third scoring option, averaging 10.3 ppg on 34 percent shooting from the field.
The Roadrunners allow a C-USA worst 75.0 ppg to opposing offenses. As a result of their lack of size, UTSA struggles to block shots and rebound. The Roadrunners rank last in the conference in defensive rebounding percentage and blocked shots. Additionally, UTSA has a -5.0 rebounding margin, tied for last in C-USA. Anticipate the Charlotte coaching staff to exploit their size advantage by making centers Angel Middelton, Dara Pearson and Jazmin Harris more of a focal point on offense.
“I think as we flip the page into February, [Harris's] finding consistency again, finding belief in herself, and she’s taking better shots,” Consuegra said.
However, despite struggling mightily to stop opposing offenses, the Roadrunners are decent at forcing turnovers. UTSA ranks seventh in C-USA in total steals, and Woods’ 2.7 steals per game lead the conference.
An ankle injury relegated Christian Hithe, the 49ers’ third-leading scorer and best perimeter defender, to the sideline line for Charlotte’s games against Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and most of the UTEP game. However, her status is day-to-day, and the 49ers are hopeful she can make a return to the rotation against the Roadrunners.
“[Hithe] has an ankle injury that she hurt in practice last week,” Consuegra said. “She’s day-to-day. We’re hopeful. We’ll see how she responds this week.”
Charlotte looks to get back on track with a much-needed road win against UTSA on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 3 p.m.