The women's basketball senior class is unique in the fact that all three student-athletes have been a part of the program their entire collegiate career.
One of those players, Octavia Jett-Wilson, has played a major role in Charlotte’s success the past three seasons and is looking to have a bigger and greater year in her senior season.
“I feel very confident heading into the season,” said Jett-Wilson. “We’ve had a pretty good head on our shoulders with what’s been going on. I think it should be a good one.”
Mariah Linney and Dara Pearson round out the senior class with Jett-Wilson. With being a part of the program for so long, they know Head Coach Cara Consuegra more than any other player and understand what she wants from players and help alleviate some of the coaching to help out the newcomers.
“They know me. They know my expectations and they can say things before it comes out of my mouth,” said Consuegra. “I think they’ve really helped to be able to get our younger players and newcomers on the same page when I can’t spend as much time with them as I would like.”
Jett-Wilson entered the program during the 2017-18 season and made an immediate impact for the 49ers by becoming a full-time starter her freshman year. She averaged 10.1 points per game and was named a part of the All-Conference USA Freshman Team that season.
The past two seasons have been all about consistency for Jett-Wilson and finding a groove. For the first time in her career, the 21-year-old came off the bench her junior season but gradually earned her way back into the starting lineup as the season progressed and improved her game over the course of the season every time she stepped on the court.
One of her greatest attributes is how she has continuously improved her shooting ability from behind the three-point line. Her three-point field goal percentage has improved each year since joining the team but especially this previous season. She shot 38.5% from behind the arc, the best on the team last year.
Jett-Wilson doesn’t shoot the most threes on the team but she shoots the three ball at a higher percentage and efficiency rate than any other player on the 49ers roster. In conference play last season, she shot nearly 40% from three. Charlotte will look to Jett-Wilson this upcoming season to be a reliable scorer from all over the court.
“I’ve really been working on my shot this year and I hope that improves. I think I’ve done better with being more consistent when shooting,” said Jett-Wilson. “That’s something I’ve worked on during the whole time we had off. I think I put that work in enough to be able to put the ball in the basket more this upcoming season.”
Jett-Wilson has the opportunity this season to join an exclusive club that not many players have been able to accomplish at Charlotte, which is the 1000-point club. She will be looking to join teammate Mariah Linney as they both have the chance to score over 1,000 points in their 49er career in their final seasons.
“With me being the senior, I would say an individual goal would probably get to 1000 points,” said Jett-Wilson. “I don’t know how far I am, but I know I’m not that far.”
There are a lot of young players and transfers that have the opportunity to learn from the seniors like Jett-Wilson and how to thrive in Coach Consuegra’s system. Jett-Wilson wants to be a leader on and off the court to help these younger players grow.
“I think a lot of the younger kids look up to me just because I’ve been here and I always get the job done on the court and off the court,” said Jett-Wilson. “I don’t think I was prepared at first, but I think now with me being a senior, I have more of the characteristics as a leader than I did maybe last year.”
Jett-Wilson wears the No. 13 but the number has more meaning than simply putting the jersey on. That number represents her family where her father, uncle and sister all wore No. 13 when they played. She says she looked up to her sister which is why she chose to wear the same number as her.
“13 is everywhere in my family. It’s like a family number,” said Jett-Wilson. “I think a lot of people say that 13 is an unlucky number but I would say it’s my lucky number.”
Last year ended in one of the most unexpected ways in recent history. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Conference USA tournament was canceled right in the middle of the tournament. Nevertheless, the fourth-year senior uses last season as motivation to have the same success this upcoming year and make it back to the C-USA tournament.
“I think that just gives us a chip on our shoulders this year to be able go and try to win it again,” Jett-Wilson said. “We lost Jade (Phillips) and Lauren (Harley), but I think the team we have now we’re really level-headed about getting things done and making sure we are all on the same page so when the time comes again, we don’t miss a beat.”
With this being her final season, Jett-Wilson eyes the conference championship and aims to win it all for herself, her teammates and the seniors last year whose season was cut short.