Charlotte/North Carolina WBB preview

Charlotte's Jada McMillian drives to the basket in a game against UTEP.

After the Charlotte women's basketball team opened their season with a road win against Richmond, they return home this weekend to face the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). The game promises to be an intriguing matchup after last season's close six-point loss to the Tar Heels. 

"We played well for a lot of that game up there, and we had to battle through tough situations," said Head Coach Cara Consuegra. "I hope now after the year behind us of having so many close games and players that have had that experience, they'll be able to understand Sunday's game could very much be alike. We've got to be better down the stretch."

It will be a tough test as UNC routed North Carolina A&T by a score of 92-47. With the returning leadership of Octavia Jett-Wilson and Jada McMillian, the 49ers look poised for the challenge ahead.

Players to watch for:

Charlotte:

Octavia Jett-Wilson, Guard: 

The preseason Conference USA Player of the Year comes into her fifth year ready to show what she and her team are capable of great things. In the first half against Richmond, she struggled a bit but got things turned around in the second half and ended with a team-high 16 points. 

Her leadership, having been with the team for five years now, will be critical moving forward. If the game is tight late, expect Jett-Wilson to have the ball in her hands.

KeKe McKinney, Forward: 

The Kentucky transfer had 12 points and five rebounds in her first contest as a 49er. She stepped right in and made an immediate impact. 

With Jazmin Harris transferring in the offseason, the question of who would step up for the 49ers was answered against Richmond. McKinney will be a force on the low block and needs to have a big game on the boards against the Tar Heels if the 49ers want to come out on top.

UNC:

Alyssa Ustby, Guard: 

Coming off a 15 point performance in the Tar Heels' opener, Ustby will be looking for another big game against Charlotte. Only a sophomore, Ustby initiates the offense for the Tar Heels and will likely be matched up with Jett-Wilson or McMillian. It will be a test for both of the 49er guards, so keep an eye out for this matchup. 

Carlie Littlefield, Guard: 

One noticeable thing about the Tar Heels is that they have a similar lineup to the 49ers from a scoring production perspective. Littlefield is another guard, and she also scored 15 points in their opener. Look for this game to be dominated by guard play so expect Littlefield to play a significant role.  

Keys to a Charlotte victory:

The first key is to force the Tar Heels to play at the 49ers' pace. Charlotte will need to control the game's tempo and not let the Tar Heels get out on the fast break. UNC plays a lot of guards, so they will likely be looking to move up and down the court quickly. 

Getting on the boards will also be prominent in the contest. If the 49ers can keep the Tar Heels from getting second-chance opportunities, they will have a good shot of opening their home season with a win. Boxing out will be a point of emphasis as it always is for Consuegra and her staff.

Gametime:

Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. inside Halton Arena on Sunday, Nov. 14. Fans can stream the game live on ESPN+.

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