For the first time in nearly a month, Charlotte (3-4) took the court against the Marshall Thundering Herd (2-4) at home in Halton Arena. Charlotte didn’t miss a beat and was able to sweep the first conference series of the year.
“I’m proud of how the team battled through adversity,” said Head Coach Cara Consuegra. “These were well deserved wins.”
The first game of the series was on Jan. 8 and Charlotte looked dominant in their first game back after dealing with COVID-19 related issues. Charlotte never looked back after a competitive first quarter against the Thundering Herd, which resulted in a 75-54 win for the Niners.
Consuegra notched her 100th home win.
In the first quarter, both teams tried to get the early momentum. Senior guard Octavia Jett-Wilson started hot as she had seven points for the Niners. Junior center Jazmin Harris would have four of the first six points for the Niners and made her presence felt as well. Charlotte would lead the game 15-12 at the end of one.
Both teams started the second quarter slow. Charlotte continued to get good production from Jazmin Harris as well as freshmen forward Molina Williams as both players would have four points in the quarter. Charlotte continued to grow their lead as the score going into halftime would be 28-23 in favor of Charlotte.
Coming out of the half, the 49ers started to pull away from the Thundering Herd. Great plays from senior guard Mariah Linney would be key as she hit a pair of three pointers. Charlotte would hold a 51-38 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
Coach Consuegra was pleased with how well the team played coming out of halftime.
“We attacked out of the second half which resulted in a positive outcome,” said Consuegra. “We just played our game and we are excited for what is to come."
In the fourth quarter, Linney and Williams were responsible for putting the final touches on the win. Both players had nine points and were feeding off of each other.
Charlotte won the first of two matchups by a score of 75-54 and would look to continue their winning ways in the second game.
“We came together and it was a team effort,” said Jett-Wilson. “We rolled with what we got.”
The second game of the series was on Jan. 9 and Charlotte had to come from behind to get the win. Charlotte trailed for almost three quarters and would come back in the fourth to force overtime. Charlotte kicked it into high gear in the extra period to win by a score of 65-56.
“This game showed us what we have to do to be successful in these back to backs,” said Conseugra. “This win showed that we wanted it more and we had to fight for it.”
In the first quarter, Charlotte jumped out to a 4-0 lead which wouldn’t last for long. The leading scorer in the quarter was junior guard Jada McMillan who had five points. Marshall led at the end of one by a score of 16-9.
Heading into the second quarter, Charlotte would look to get back into the game. The Niners relied on redshirt senior Dara Pearson who had six points in the quarter. Marshall still held a 31-23 lead going into halftime.
Coming out of the half, Charlotte outscored Marshall for the first time all game. McMillan would pull the Niners closer with eight points in the quarter. Charlotte looked to come back down 42-35 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Charlotte battled back and tied the game at 50. The Niners had a chance to win but would miss their final shot, causing the game to head to overtime.
“The players made some great adjustments and it showed the character of our team,” said Conseugra.
In overtime, Charlotte would catch fire. Marshall went cold in the final minutes and it would be enough for another Charlotte win.
The leading scorer for the Niners was Jada McMillan who finished with 26 on 10-17 shooting from the field. Dara Pearson also finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds which was big for the Niners down the stretch.
“I knew I would have to step up if we wanted to come out on top,” said Pearson.
Charlotte showed much promise for the rest of the season as they would win their third game in a row by a score of 65-56.
Charlotte moves to 3-4 on the season and their next matchups will be against UAB on Jan. 15 and 16. Both games will tip off at 3:00 p.m. in Bartow Arena.