EL PASO, Texas – The Charlotte women’s basketball team will start its quest for a Conference USA Championships title at approximately 7 p.m. EST Wednesday when the 49ers begin play in the tournament’s second round. The Niners, who earned an opening-round bye as the No. 6 seed, will face the winner of No. 11 seed North Texas and No. 14 seed Louisiana Tech.
Charlotte closed the regular season with a 15-14 overall and 9-7 C-USA ledger, capping the year with a 64-60 triumph at UAB Friday afternoon. The Niners have won three of their last four entering the tournament, hoping to carry the momentum into the event hosted by UTEP.
The 49ers placed two players on the postseason all-conference teams, led by senior Ny Hammonds as an All-Conference USA Second Team choice. The point guard recently became only the sixth player in NCAA history to register back-to-back triple-doubles, reaching the milestone against FIU (Feb. 26) and Marshall (March 1) in her final two home contests.
Hammonds averaged 11.1 points per game through the regular season, while handing out 160 assists, the third highest total in program history and playing over 1000 minutes for the second-straight year.
Joining her on the league’s all-conference squads was Lefty Webster, who collected a Conference USA All-Freshman Team plaudit. She is one of four players to appear in all 29 games and averaged 7.7 points and 4.7 rebounds during the regular season.
Redshirt junior Gabby Tyler begins the tournament with team-leading averages of 12.0 points and 7.7 rebounds. Her 67.2 field goal percentage in league contests topped all players across the conference this year.
Sophomore Kira Gordon (10.7 ppg) and junior Hillary Sigmon (10.0) round out a quartet of 49ers with double-digit scoring averages, helping to provide a balanced attack.
The 11th-seeded Mean Green, under second-year head coach Mike Petersen, finished 12-17 and 6-10 in 2013-14. North Texas has won just two of its last five, including the regular-season finale to No. 2 seed Southern Miss Wednesday.
Alexis Hyder paces NT with 11.4 points per game, edging out Briesha Wynn’s 11.2 mark. The pair also leads the Mean Green in rebounding, paced by Wynn’s 6.9 average. Acheil Tac had posted a 7.0 rebounds per game mark before suffering a season-ending injury in early February.
Charlotte won the only previous meeting between the two teams, a 61-59 triumph inside Halton Arena Jan. 11. The win gave the 49ers a 2-0 league start for the first time since 2011-12. Tyler led all players with 22 points, while Gordon nearly had a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Louisiana Tech has won two straight and three of its last five games to own a 10-19 overall and 5-11 C-USA mark this year under sixth-year head coach Teresa Weatherspoon. The Lady Techsters knocked off FIU, the No. 13 seed, in the regular-season finale Wednesday.
Whitney Frazier leads the squad with 16.4 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per contest. She is the only LA Tech player to start all 29 games. Three others join her in double-figure scoring, while Kelia Shelton has hauled in 7.0 boards per outing in her two games played this year.
The 49ers picked up an 85-61 victory in Ruston, La., in the only other time the two schools have met, Feb. 13. The contest was broadcast on Fox Sports South as part of the Conference USA television package.
Charlotte netted a season-best 53 second-half points during the rout, as five different players tallied double-digit points, including a career-high 14 by freshman Ciara Gregory.
Wednesday’s contest will mark the third of the day inside Memorial Gym, on the UTEP campus, and the first of the evening session. It will be broadcast live online through the Conference USA Digital Network.
Josh Feldman will also handle play-by-play audio of the game through the Charlotte49ers.com internet feed, with live stats linked through the website. Updates can also be found on Twitter by following @49erGameDay.
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