The Charlotte women's basketball team will face Rice in Frisco, Texas, on Thursday, March 10 at noon, in the Ford Center at The Star. The 49ers will take on the Owls in the quarterfinal round of the Conference USA (C-USA) championship tournament.
Head Coach Cara Consuegra talked about the team's mindset going into the championship games.
"This team has seen it all…We feel like we're tournament tested," said Consuegra. "Now it's time to turn the page, we're gonna enjoy this [win], but then we know it's time to turn the page; we have a lot left to do."
The most recent matchup between the 49ers and the Owls occurred during the regular season on Saturday, Jan. 22, where Charlotte won 88-83 at home in quadruple overtime. The game was one of the most memorable of the season, with the four overtimes. Octavia Jett-Wilson scored 36 points, a season-high, and hit two buzzer-beaters.
The overall record between the two teams sits at 8-3, with Charlotte in the lead. Charlotte has won seven of the last ten matchups between the teams.
What you need to know:
The 49ers are coming off an impressive 70-49 win against Southern Mississippi on Saturday, March 5, where they clinched the Conference USA regular-season championship. The seniors were honored for senior night and took awe in playing their last game in Halton Arena.
The 49ers also received three major postseason honors: fifth-year Jett-Wilson was named C-USA Player of the Year, fifth-year Keke McKinney was named C-USA Defensive Player of the Year and Head Coach Cara Consuegra was named C-USA Coach of the Year.
Charlotte has an overall record of 19-9 and finished 15-3 in conference play.
The 49ers are led by Jett-Wilson, McKinney and senior Jada McMillian, who have been critical contributors to Charlotte's team this season. Jett-Wilson leads the team with 18.4 points per game and will be essential in the contest. McKinney, the defensive anchor for the 49ers, is first in the C-USA in blocks and fourth in rebounds, so expect her to have a big game.
Consuegra reflected on her team's efforts this season and what it took to get to this position.
"All three of them have had a tremendous impact," said Consuegra. "If these three did not support me, support our coaches, did not play the way that they played, we would not be up here today with these [champion] t-shirts on. It's a huge credit to them and the way they've led this team."
Sophomore Ashlee Austin leads the team in points with 432 on the season. Freshman Malia Fisher leads the team in rebounds, with 8.7. Sophomore Destiny Jackson leads the C-USA in assists with 115 on the season.
Rice has a relatively young roster, with their starting lineup consisting of three freshmen and two sophomores. Their team roster consists of just four upperclassmen.
Looking to Gameday:
McKinney gave her viewpoint on playing in the postseason with the chance of getting to the NCAA tournament.
"One game at a time… It's nothing that we haven't seen. I think we're ready; we will continue to grow and get better each practice, so we'll be ready," said McKinney.
Charlotte will take on Rice on Thursday, March 10 at noon, in the Ford Center at The Star. With a win, the 49ers would move onto the semifinals of the C-USA tournament on Friday, March 11. The matchup will be available for streaming on Stadium.