DAVIDSON, N.C. – Charlotte received career-high performances from a pair who missed the previous game and the 49ers used contributions from all 13 players to extend its winning streak to five straight over Davidson to hand the Wildcats a 76-60 setback Saturday afternoon. The Niners’ current run over their cross-county rival includes three-in-a-row over the last two seasons, the only meetings under current head coach Cara Consuegra.
Leading the offensive charge for Charlotte (5-6) were a trio with career-best scoring outputs, including sophomore Kira Gordon’s 19 on 7-of-10 field goals and 5-of-5 at the foul line. She netted the first six points on the day for the 49ers and was limited to just a half-dozen minutes in the opening stanza due to foul trouble.
Freshmen Ciara Gregory and Lefty Webster also added career-high efforts with 12 points apiece. Gregory’s came on a 4-of-5 showing from behind the 3-point line, setting a new career best for the sharpshooter.
Webster earned most of her points at the foul line, an 8-of-9 display, to go along with her overall solid stat line of seven rebounds, five assists and five steals in 28 minutes. She also had a blocked shot.
Senior Ny Hammonds gave the Niners a quartet of double-figure scorers, chipping in 10 points, which included a 4-of-4 foul-line effort.
Laura Murray finished with a game-best 23 points to pace Davidson (5-7), though she had just five after the intermission. Dakota Dukes contributed a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Shneeka Center added 15 points off the bench.
After Charlotte entered halftime with a slim two-point, 31-29, lead, a 5-2 ’Cats run in the first two minutes gave Davidson its first lead of the contest and Consuegra called timeout with her team trailing 34-33. The 49ers came out of the timeout re-energized and focused, quickly turning the deficit into a 9-0 spurt covering nearly the next four minutes and never looking back.
Gordon and redshirt junior Gabby Tyler netted all of the Niners’ points during the stretch as Charlotte built a 42-34 cushion before Dukes ended the Davidson drought with a free throw at 14:19. Gregory extended the advantage to double figures at 47-37 with 12:56 to play when she drained an NBA-range 3-pointer in front of her own bench.
Lillian McCabe scored on the next Wildcats possession but a layup from Hammonds and baseline jumper from junior Hillary Sigmon widened the margin to 12, 51-39, at 11:13. Dukes’ old-fashioned three-point play at 10:32 cut the Charlotte lead back to single digits, 53-44, but another Gregory triple at 9:40 and a traditional three-point conversion by Gordon at 9:14 allowed the 49ers to grow their edge to 16, 61-45.
Davidson then made a run, an 11-3 surge in the next 5:24, to pull within eight, 64-56. Center tallied five points, while Dukes chipped in four for the hosts. The 49ers would not let them get any closer, however, and ended the contest with a 12-4 run sparked by a technical foul called on the Wildcats bench. Webster hit both of those charity tosses, as eight of the final dozen points were recorded at the foul line.
Gordon’s six early points helped keep Davidson at a distance in the opening stretches of the contest. Webster’s old-fashioned three-point play at 14:36 of the first half put Charlotte on top, 11-3, as the Wildcats were just 1-of-8 from the floor at that point. Back-to-back buckets from sophomore Alexis Alexander and junior Olivia Rankin gave the 49ers their first double-digit advantage, 15-5, at 12:56. The lead never slipped to less than seven when Shannon Eriksson hit her second-straight jumper to cut the gap to 20-13 with 6:49 left.
Gregory stepped behind the arc and buried consecutive 3-pointers in the next minute, expanding the margin to 13, 26-13, with 6:10 to play in the period. Just as she was heating up, the rest of the Niners offense went cold and Davidson would take control.
The Wildcats closed the half with a 16-5 run, featuring 13 by Murray, to make it just a two-point difference at the intermission which they then carried over to the first two minutes of the second period.
Charlotte will take eight days off for the Christmas holiday season and return to action Dec. 29 at 4 p.m. when it opens a four-game homestand inside Halton Arena. The 49ers welcome Furman to town for the first game of a doubleheader with the men’s program. The four-game homestand is the longest for Charlotte under Consuegra’s watch and will see the end of the non-conference slate and the beginning of the Conference USA schedule.
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