Jade old photo

Jade Phillips drives toward the basket

The Charlotte 49ers look to start their two-game home stand off with a win against Conference USA basement dweller Louisiana Tech (10-8, 2-5). 

“I think LA Tech is a really tough team. They’re always difficult to play,” Charlotte Head Coach Cara Consuegra said. “For us, we’ve just got to be mentally tougher than them. We’ve got to beat them to loose balls and out-hustle them.”  

The Bulldogs boast one of the top offenses in C-USA, ranking near the top in scoring offense, three-point field goal percentage, assists and turnover margin. The Bulldogs’ offense, led by their backcourt duo of Keiunna Walker and Amber Dixon, average 69.4 points per game, fourth-most in C-USA. 

LA Tech’s offense is largely dependent upon shooting three-pointers and drawing fouls. The Bulldogs average 18.2 three-point attempts per game. Guards Lotte Sant and Raziel Guinto serve as top-end floor spacers for the LA Tech offense and ball-dominant, penetrating guards Dixon and Walker. Sant and Guinto average C-USA third and fourth-best three-point shooting percentages of 41.3 percent and 40.0 percent, respectively.   

“I think they have some really athletic guards that do a good job of getting downhill,” Consuegra said. “They’re difficult to guard. We’re going to have to play the ball screens well.”  

The Bulldogs’ offense also forces defenses to play disciplined basketball as they’re one of the top free-throw shooting teams in the conference and have a +2.3 turnover margin. 

In contrast to their offense, LA Tech struggles to stop opposing offenses. They allow 66.7 points per game to opponents, average 2.4 blocked shots per game, allow 41.8 percent shooting from the field, 32.9 percent on three-point attempts and have a -.2 rebounding margin. All of these averages rank at or near the bottom in C-USA statistical rankings. 

Charlotte’s offense, which has struggled in recent games, should get back on track against the porous LA Tech defense. 

“The FIU game was the first time we’ve looked like ourselves on the offensive end in a couple of weeks,” Consuegra said. “My focus is [on] how can we build on that and get ourselves to look like that again.” 

Although the Charlotte offense has recently struggled, senior guard Jade Phillips continues to be an anchor and consistent scorer for the 49ers. 

“I think [Phillips is] one of the best players in the league,” Consuegra said. “I don’t think she gets the credit for it, and I don’t think a lot of other people view her that way. I don’t know why, because I know when we play people, the game plan is to stop Jade Phillips.” 

The 49ers look to get back on track with a win at home against LA Tech on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. 

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