After a four-game skid, the Charlotte women’s basketball team have seemed to have turned the corner with two straight wins over St. Johns’ and Gardner-Webb in their last two contests. However, the road doesn’t get any easier for the 49ers as they face a formidable 4-2 West Virginia in Morganton, WV on Tuesday, Dec. 7.
The 49ers’ success has come at the hands of Conference USA (C-USA) Co-Player of the Year, Octavia Jett-Wilson. Jett-Wilson had 27 points in the 49ers dominating performance over St. John’s and followed that up with 22 points in the win at home against Gardner-Webb. These performances come after a slow start to the season for the fifth-year senior.
Her success moving forward will be pivotal for the 49ers if they want to reach their ultimate goal at the end of the year, and that is to hoist the C-USA trophy in Texas and make the NCAA tournament.
49ers to watch:
Jett-Wilson, the leader of the team and catalyst for the offense, will be critical in the game against the Mountaineers. In the last two contests, she averaged over 24 points per game which is a steep feat to keep up, but if there is one player in C-USA who can, it is Jett-Wilson. Look for her to have a big performance against West Virginia.
Sophomore forward Molina Willians recently scored 16 points on 6-10 shooting against Gardner-Webb. After missing the game against St. John’s due to personal reasons, it appeared she was playing with a purpose against the Bulldogs. Her scoring production could be a hidden gem for the 49ers and could prove pivotal in the game.
Mountaineers to watch:
Junior guard KK Deans is the floor general for the Mountaineers who can do it all; she can penetrate the lane and pull up over her defender. Either Jett-Wilson or Jada McMillian will likely draw her as an assignment, and they will have their hands full all game. Deans will get the ball if this game gets down to a free throw shooting contest as she shoots 90% on the season from the charity stripe.
Junior forward Esmery Martinez is the following West Virginia player to watch. The matchup of Martinez and 49er forward KeKe McKinney will be must-see TV as both are very quick and athletic while also getting on the glass. Martinez does not like to shoot the three as she has only taken three shots from beyond the arc all season.
Martinez is an efficient shooter from the field as she boasts a percentage over 50%, and most of her shots come in the paint, which creates a tall task ahead for McKinney.
Looking to gameday:
The 49ers will travel to face the Mountaineers inside the West Virginia Coliseum, with tipoff set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7. This game will be the last for the 49ers before taking a break for exams. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and the Big 12 Network for those wishing to view the game.