On Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. the Charlotte 49ers Women’s Basketball team is set to take on the Florida Atlantic Owls. FAU will have the home court advantage. The Niners are coming off of a close four-point loss on the road from Western Kentucky University, in which they shot 22.2 percentage from the three-point line in that game. The Owls are on a two-game losing streak and coming off of a 19 point loss. Winning this game would be a big boost of confidence for the Niners before they take on the FIU Panthers on Saturday, Jan. 25.
Charlotte has played good defense in the past couple of games, holding their opponents to low scoring totals through four quarters of play. Over the last three games the team has held the opposition to 60, 46 and 54 points.
“We have defended well enough to win,” Head Coach Cara Consuegra said. “It’s just been a couple of plays here and there that have cost us our opportunity to have a much different record right now.”
The 49er offense did seemingly struggle in their last game, shooting 40.7 percent from the field and going 0-6 from three-point range in the fourth quarter.
“I think for us our biggest focus this week has been our offense,” Consuegra said.
If the Niners continue to play lockdown defense and hold opponents to 60 points or below, the increased focus on offense can pay strong dividends.
In conference play, the team’s top two scorers are Jade Phillips and Christian Hithe. Both are giving the team double digit points since starting conference play at 15.4 and 11.8 points per game, respectively. Phillips is a force to be reckoned with on the glass, pouring in 11.2 boards per game leading her to average a double double. Last game, neither player was the first or second leading scorers on the team; those titles belonged to Octavia Jett-Wilson and Jada McMillian at 17 and 14. When Phillips and Hithe get back to their high scoring and that gets coupled with the potential and recent surge of Jett-Wilson and McMillian, the offensive firepower the team is going to show to Florida Atlantic will be hard to defend.
FAU is coming off of a bad stretch losing four of their last five games and the lone win coming in a double overtime versus North Texas. In each game of the five they gave up at least 78 points and gave up 90 or more points twice in the same span. Defensively, the team is struggling getting stops, and offensively they have not been able to keep their scoring above 70 points in two games. One of the bright spots for this team is their guard Crystal Primm. In the last three games she has been putting points on the board giving the team 20, 21 and 30 points in the games. The Niners lockdown defense against Primm’s high scoring should be a great thing to watch in the game on Thursday, Jan. 23.
Both teams will be looking for a win after some tough losses. The Charlotte 49ers are looking to improve on offense and get on a roll while the FAU Owls are looking to change their defense and try not to give up 70 or more points. This will be an exciting game for both teams who could start a winning streak by finishing with a win.