ST. LOUIS - Charlotte played all 12 of its healthy bodies,
using an all-around team effort, and rode the back of its All-Atlantic 10
performer, Jennifer Hailey for a near triple-double, for a 71-54 victory at
Saint Louis Sunday afternoon. The win kept the 49ers unbeaten in true road
games this season and tops the five they attained all of last year.
Hailey tallied her 13th season double-double, and 23rd of her career, with 23 points and 14 rebounds, both game highs, to go along with a career-best seven blocked shots. Her rejections not only extended her consecutive-games streak with at least one to 30, they also moved her within 10 of the all-time school record.
Joining Hailey as starters in double-figure scoring were Ny Hammonds (12 points), Hillary Sigmon (11) and Amanda Dowe (10). The Niners finished with 11 blocks as a team, including the first career by Olivia Rankin.
Desirae Ball paced the Billikens with 18 points, including 12 straight during a second-half stretch, while Lorreal Jones added 14 points and 13 rebounds for her second double-double in a row.
Charlotte pulled away early by using Hailey to its advantage in the post. Hailey scored back-to-back buckets, although the 49ers faced an over three-minute drought, as they built a 7-5 lead.
Following a Halee Castleman free throw at 12:07, the Niners defense stepped up by holding the Billikens without a point for a four-minute period. Meanwhile, the Charlotte (14-4, 3-1 A-10) offense tallied seven unanswered, capped by a Hailey old-fashioned three-point play, allowing it to pad its cushion to double digits, 16-6, before Ball ended the lull with a jumper at 8:02.
Again, the 49ers found the back of the net, starting with a spinning reverse layup in transition from freshman Shequana Harris. Her shot ignited a 6-0 spurt, stretching the margin to 22-10, entering the final five minutes of the stanza. Consecutive layups from Jones kept SLU without striking distance; however, Sigmon drained a 3-pointer in the left corner to quell any further threat.
Castleman hit the half's final field goal at 2:18 and each team dropped in a pair of free throws, allowing the Niners to claim a 29-18 halftime advantage.
The first half momentum carried over into the early minutes of the second session. Charlotte quickly increased its edge to 13 as Forney hit the period's first shot. Saint Louis (8-12, 2-3 A-10) kept fighting and pulled within eight, 33-25, on a Jacy Bradley triple at the 17:23 mark. The Billikens kept within 10 just over two minutes later when Castleman converted an old-fashioned three-point play to make it a 40-30 score at 15:06.
It would be the last SLU points for nearly four minutes, as the Niners went inside to Dowe for six of their next eight points and watched their lead swell to 18, 48-30, by the 12:15 mark. Jones halted the surge but Hailey's three consecutive layups at 8:29 and 7:50 capped another 11-2 run, lifting Charlotte to its largest advantage, 61-34, with 7:22 to go on another Hailey connection.
Ball then took control of the scoring column, pouring in 12 Billkens points, while Jones and Mallory Eggert added layups to slice the 49ers lead to 11, 63-52, with just 2:48 remaining. Hammonds finally ended the drought with a jumper in the lane at 2:21, helping Charlotte close the contest with an 8-2 spurt.
The 49ers return to action when they close the two-game road swing at St. Bonaventure at 7 p.m. Wednesday before returning home at 2 p.m. Sunday to play host to Duquesne inside Halton Arena.
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