CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte women’s basketball has reached the WNIT Sweet 16 for the second time in the last three seasons and will play host to Florida at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a third-straight home postseason contest inside Halton Arena. It also marks the second time in the last three WNITs in which the two teams have met.
The 49ers improved to 26-5 on the season following Sunday’s Second Round 72-60 triumph over cross-county rival Davidson, knocking off the Wildcats for the second time this year. Charlotte broke open a tight score with a 6-0 run during the second half to pull ahead and never look back.
Senior Jennifer Hailey, the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, netted a game-best 22 points to move into ninth on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,434 points. She added four blocked shots, giving her at least one rejection in 43-straight games, and grabbed eight rebounds in 34 minutes.
Three other Charlotte starters reached double-figure scoring, as sophomore Hillary Sigmon and senior Jai Forney added 13 apiece and junior Ny Hammonds nearly had a double-double with her 12 points and career-high nine rebounds.
Senior Amanda Dowe was limited to 20 minutes due to foul trouble but still managed to equal Hammonds’ effort on the boards, collecting nine off the glass herself, as the Niners won the rebound battle, 43-to-31.
The trio of seniors became the winningest class in school history with their 87th victory wearing the green and white and Charlotte set a single-season program record with its 14th home win of the campaign. Head coach Cara Consuegra also won for the 42nd time since taking the reins of the program, the most triumphs by a 49ers head coach in his or her first two seasons at the helm.
Florida, out of the Southeastern Conference, advanced to Wednesday’s meeting with an 85-53 Second Round win at Winthrop Monday night in Rock Hill, S.C. The Gators enter with a 20-14 overall record and were just 6-10 in the SEC this season.
Jaterra Bonds paces the squad with 12.9 points per game, while Sydney Moss and Jennifer George also average double figures at 11.2 and 11.1 per contest, respectively. George is the team’s top rebounder with 7.9 caroms per outing.
Florida head coach Amanda Butler was in charge of the Charlotte program for two seasons, 2005-06 and 2006-07, before returning to her alma mater and is now in her eighth year in Gainesville, Fla.
The two teams have met seven times over the years with the Gators owning a 6-1 advantage in the series. However, the lone Charlotte victory came at home during the 2011 WNIT Third Round, an 81-77 overtime decision, helping the Niners reach the WNIT Semifinals that season.
Wednesday’s contest will be the fourth tilt between the two programs in the last three seasons, having also played at Florida Nov. 15, 2010, in the Preseason WNIT and Nov. 26, 2012, at the Courtyard LaGuardia Turkey Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Josh Feldman will handle the play-by-play duties for the Charlotte49ers.com live video stream. Live stats will be available through the website, while in-game updates can also be found on Twitter by following @49erGameDay.
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