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Courtesy: Charlotte Sports Information
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Tournament play begins Thursday for 49ers in quarterfinals
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Charlotte women’s basketball will hit the court at 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday for its first action of the 2016 Conference USA Championships. As the No. 4 seed and recipients of a double-bye into the quarterfinals, the 49ers will meet No. 5 seed Old Dominion in their first action of the tournament inside UAB’s Bartow Arena live on and the American Sports Network.

Charlotte clinched one of the top-four seeds in the league last week, enabling it to start competition in the annual conference championship two days later than the tournament’s tip-off date of Tuesday. The No. 4 seed is the best for the program as a Conference USA member since 2003 when it won the regular season and was rewarded with the No. 1 seed.

Four Niners were honored postseason by C-USA for their work during the regular season. Senior Alexis Alexander and junior Lefty Webster earned All-Conference USA Second Team accolades, while Grace Hunter and Laia Raventós provided the 49ers the most representation of any school on the All-Conference USA Freshman Team.

Charlotte posted a 19-10 overall record throughout regular-season play and sits on the verge of the 14th 20-win campaign in program history. The 49ers are 10-12 all-time in the Conference USA Championships, advancing as far as the semifinals two times.

Cara Consuegra was named to the inaugural Conference USA Coaches Circle after orchestrating the program to a 12-6 league mark, including nine triumphs among its last 11 contests entering the tournament. She owns 91 career victories, two shy of tying her boss and current director of athletics, Judy (Wilkins) Rose for second place on the school’s all-time list.

Old Dominion carries the No. 5 seed in the tournament and advanced to Thursday’s quarterfinals after a 62-55 win over No. 13 seed North Texas Wednesday. The Lady Monarchs boast a 15-16 overall ledger with Jennie Simms representing the squad on the All-Conference USA First Team. ODU won both of the regular-season meetings against Charlotte, Jan. 3 and Feb. 6.

(19-10, 12-6 C-USA)

Head coach: Cara Consuegra (Iowa, 2001)
Fifth season
91-63 at Charlotte and overall
Assistants: Joanne Aluka-White, fourth season
Randi Henderson, first season
Nicole Woods, third season
Jena Jessup (DOBO), second season

(15-16, 10-8 C-USA)

Head coach: Karen Barefoot
Fifth season
84-78 at Old Dominion and 294-221 overall
Assistants: Trina Patterson
Jim Corrigan
Jermaine Woods
Theresa Pusateri

ONLINE STREAM/TV (quarterfinals)
Leah Secondo, play-by-play; Nate Ross, color analyst
Josh Feldman, play-by-play
Jared Allen, Trevor Wilt
TWITTER @49erGameDay

Niner Nuggets

• Charlotte enters its 13th Conference USA Championships this week as the No. 4 seed and a double-bye into the quarterfinals, which will be played Thursday March 10 inside UAB’s Bartow Arena. The 49ers closed the regular season by winning nine of their last 11, including a pair of home triumphs March 3 and 5 to secure the No. 4 spot. Charlotte carries a 10-12 all-time record in the event, including a 1-1 record last March when it entered as the No. 8 seed and advanced to the quarterfinals following a second-round triumph over No. 9 seed Marshall.
• The tournament officially begins March 8 with two games, followed by four more March 9. The 49ers are joined by regular-season champion and No. 1 seed UTEP, along with Middle Tennessee and WKU, with securing the double-bye. The Blue Raiders and Lady Toppers will be the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively.
• Charlotte’s No. 4 seeding is its highest as a Conference USA member since the Niners won the league regular-season crown in 2003, assuring them of the No. 1 spot. The 49ers, who were picked to place sixth in the preseason poll, were the No. 6 seed in their first year back in the conference in 2014 and the No. 8 seed last season.
• The Niners enter the tournament with four All-Conference USA selections among the starting five, including second-team choices of senior Alexis Alexander and junior Lefty Webster. Joining them on the all-league squads were all-freshman honorees Grace Hunter and Laia Raventós. Charlotte trailed only league regular-season champion UTEP in the total number of combined all-conference team award winners; however, the four individuals tops the Miners’ three.
• Head coach Cara Consuegra picked up career win No. 91 with the March 5 regular-season finale triumph over North Texas inside Halton Arena. She is only of three coaches to reach the 90-victory plateau and is quickly approaching her boss, current director of athletics Judy Rose, for second place on the program’s all-time wins list. Rose accumulated 93 victories as Charlotte’s first coach from 1976-82.
• Consuegra was one of four around the league to be recognized in the newly-minted Coaches Circle, an honor bestowed upon those head coaches who received at least one vote for Coach of the Year honors.
• The 49ers ended the regular season with an eight-game win streak inside Halton Arena and an overall 12-2 mark on their home floor in 2015-16. It marks the 13th time in the last 14 years Charlotte has posted double-digit victories inside Halton Arena, which celebrated its 20th campaign this season.