Charlotte WBB Gulf Coast Showcase

Charlotte women's basketball team in the huddle before a game against Florida.

Losers of their last three games, the 49ers hope for a successful road trip to Florida as they play in the Gulf Coast Showcase. After opening the season with a win, Charlotte has lost to North Carolina, Wake Forest and Delaware.

Their first opponent of the showcase happens to be the 13th ranked Iowa State Cyclones. The Cyclones are an up-tempo team that likes to get out on the break, which is contrary to the style that Head Coach Cara Consuegra likes to play. 

This will be a game all about which team can control the tempo of the contest. If Charlotte can slow the game down and force Iowa State to play to their speed, the 49ers have a good shot at the upset. 

The question will be, where can the 49ers get their scoring as they’ve struggled to put it in the basket so far this season. Look for Octavia Jett-Wilson to have a big tournament. She is due for a breakout game, and what better time to have one than when the team has their backs against the wall.

The Charlotte and Iowa State matchup winner will face either Penn State or St. John’s, and each loser will also face one another. 

Penn State comes in at 3-1 and looking for continued success against higher-level competition. St. John’s also comes in at 3-1 with critical wins over Temple and Yale. The other half of the bracket features UCLA, Kent State, South Dakota State and UMASS. The 49ers are familiar with UMASS as they faced one another in the WNIT just a short season ago, with UMASS coming out victorious. 

Players to watch for Charlotte: 

Guard Octavia Jett-Wilson has had a bit of an uncharacteristic start to the season. She is not averaging the same numbers as last season, and Consuegra contributes a lot of that to her having to play with all the attention on her. She is not used to that, because in large part, last year, many weren’t expecting her to be a breakout player. 

Now that she has proven herself to be a top player in Conference USA (C-USA), teams are playing her a lot tighter. Look for her to break out of the slump in the tournament.

Forward KeKe McKinney, who transferred from Kentucky, has been everything expected and more so far for the 49ers. The stretch four that plays down low on the block can be a matchup nightmare for opponents as she can not only post you up but also take defenders outside and shoot the ball at a high level. If the 49ers hope for success in Florida this weekend, McKinney will need to have a big-time tournament.

Prediction:

The 49ers will likely lose a close battle in the first game against No. 13 Iowa State. However, the 49ers should succeed in the consolation bracket against either Penn State or St. John’s. 

From there, it will all be a guessing game to see who will lose in the upper portion of the bracket and fall to the consolation bracket. If the 49ers play to their potential, they could win the entire thing, but a third or fourth-place finish is not out of the question.

Looking to game day:

The 49ers will tip-off at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 26. The times for the following days of the tournament are currently pending on Friday’s results. Tune in on FloHoops or follow NTimes_Sports on Twitter for live updates during the game.

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