The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball team beat the William Peace Pacers in an exhibition 103-46 on Monday night in Halton Arena. The friendly game between the two programs was the first game for the two teams since the end of last season.
Jade Phillips stood out in the win, scoring 18 points in the first three quarters to go along with her two blocks before being sat in the fourth. Mariah Linney also helped lead the team with 18 points, going 4-6 from behind the arc and posting two steals. The two would not record a minute in the after the third quarter, as younger players were given an opportunity to showcase their talents in the fourth quarter.
The first half started slowly, as both teams would be a combined 10-28 from the floor after the first quarter and the 49ers would only lead 13-12 by the end of the first.
“I thought we started slow,” said Head Coach Cara Consuegra. “I would have liked to see us play better in the first quarter. But that’s typical in the first game under the lights and in front of fans. I was pleased with how we woke up in the second quarter and we started to do what we’re supposed to do. A big thing for us offensively is we wanted to be better about sharing the ball and I was pleased with that and the 25 assists.”
The team started to pick it up in the second quarter however, as the Niners would jump out to a 10 point lead with four minutes remaining in the first half. Two minutes later, the 49ers would force the Pacers to take a timeout after a Linney fast break and a three pointer back to back. Sophomore Maddie Moore quickly scored on another fast break. Linney would then steal the ball on the in-bound pass, leading to yet another fast break score. A few seconds later, Phillips would record a block and run the ball down the court for one more fast break. The home team would end the second quarter shooting 68 percent from the field and hold the Pacers to 1-13 from the field.
“We were tentative defensively. Once we were able to turn up pressure and play how we are supposed to play, I think we got some hustle plays. Octavia Jett-Wilson was able to jump on the ground for a loose ball and Dara Pearson played the way we expected her to in the second quarter, and I think those two in particular really jump-started our defense," said Consuegra.
The Pacers were on their heels from there on out, as the Niners would score relentlessly to end the first half with a score of 39-19.
The third quarter wouldn’t fare much better for the visiting team, as the Niners shot 53 percent from the field. In the highlight of the quarter, Linney ran down the shot clock to just five seconds before hitting a three pointer over her defender and Rinnah Green would steal the next pass after the inbound to end the fourth quarter 71-31.
The last period of the game would see the 49ers substitute in their younger players as freshmen Cali Konek and Dazi Lawrence would record 17 points and four steals between them.
“The exhibition is about seeing where we are, checking out some lineups and figuring out radiations. A lot of experimentation for sure, but I was really pleased with some of our young players for coming in later in the game and being ready. That says a lot about their character and their preparations, and that’s gonna make some hard decisions for me for our lineups.”
Charlotte may have been in firm control of the game from the second quarter, but that didn’t mean that Coach Consuegra was content with the performance.
“We have got to keep working. The big message to the team in the locker room is we want to play better. It’s not negative, we did some good things, but we can play better than we played tonight,“ said Consuegra. “We have to play to our standard, and the first quarter and a half of that game was not to our standard. We’ll watch some film, we’ll learn, and we’ll grow, and we’ll get better, because a week from tomorrow it’ll be a lot tougher than it was tonight.
The 49ers open up their first game of the season against Gardner-Webb on Tuesday, Nov. 5 in Halton Arena at 7 p.m.