Charlotte women’s basketball is back, and the 49ers take on App State to open the 2022-23 season. Tip-off is at 6:00 p.m. on Nov. 8 inside Halton Arena.
The 49ers are coming off one of their best seasons in program history, winning the conference and reaching the NCAA tournament. Prior to the new season, Charlotte was picked to finish No. 3 among Conference USA (C-USA) teams with two first-place votes in the coach’s poll.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to defend our title,” said Head Coach Cara Consuegra.
“The league is as good as it’s been since I’ve been in Conference USA, so we know that’s going to be a really tall task. But being picked third shows the respect other coaches have for our roster. We lost some really great pieces, but we’re also bringing some really great pieces back. We’re looking forward to competing, growing together and getting better every day.”
These two teams have a long history of facing off against each other, with 22 games over the course of 40 years stretching from 1980 to 2020. Of their 22 times facing each other, the 49ers came out on top in 16 of them.
These two teams have only faced off once since 2013; they last played each other in the 2020 season opener. Charlotte took a 74-68 loss to App State in the game, snapping their six-game winning streak over the Mountaineers.
Players to look for
For the new-look Charlotte team, it is still unknown who will take the lead on the 49ers in the new season. However, fans should keep an eye out for Mikayla Boykin to have a big game. The fifth-year guard is stepping into a more prominent leadership role as she and other teammates fill holes left after the 2021-22 season.
Boykin played a vital role in Charlotte’s previous season and is looking to take her performance to a new level in the new year.
The Mountaineers also lost a few big names over the offseason, with players like Alexia Allesch and Michaela Porter leaving.
Janay Sanders comes in as likely the biggest threat to the Charlotte defense. She had App State’s second-most points in the 2021-22 season with 324, averaging 12.5 points per game. She was also third on the team in assists, total rebounds, rebounds per game and total minutes.
When it came to shooting, Sanders was second to none for the team, finishing with the highest field goal percentage (.521), field goals made (124) and was second for three-point percentage (.379).
However, she also comes with her flaws, totaling 59 personal fouls in the year, the second most on the team, and 107 turnovers. Of the 3052 NCAA players last season, only 18 averaged more than her 4.1 turnovers per game. This could provide a weakness for the 49er defense to capitalize on.
Looking to Gameday
The Charlotte 49ers open their 2022-23 season on Nov. 8 at 6 p.m., hosting App State in the Halton Arena. The game will be available to stream on ESPN+.