The Charlotte 49ers (17-4, 6-1) used stifling defense and contributions from four double-digit scorers to defeat the Temple Owls (10-12, 3-4), 66-43, on Wednesday night in Halton Arena.
After earning two straight Atlantic 10 (A-10) Player of the Week honors, Jennifer Hailey was the key focus point for the Owls’ defense. Temple consistently double-teamed Hailey throughout the game, forcing the 49ers to rely on other scorers.
Amanda Dowe, Ny Hammonds and Kira Gordon answered the call, all scoring in double figures.
“I thought that was the most tremendous defensive effort that we’ve had,” said Charlotte Head Coach Cara Consuegra. “We executed the scout defense almost perfectly. It was hard for them to score on us out of what they were doing. They scored on us on our own boards that we gave up which is probably the one area that I was displeased with, I didn’t think we did a great job rebounding. And then we put them on the free throw line with fouls.”
“The good thing is that those are things that we can control,” Consuegra added.
Temple never led once in the game, largely due to Charlotte’s effort on the defensive side of the ball. The 49ers held the Owls to a 28.8 field goal percentage. Temple’s worst shooting percentage of the season came against VCU last month when the Owls only made 28.6 percent of their shots.
With 9:26 remaining in the game, Rateska Brown of Temple hit a free throw. It would end up being the last point of the night for the Owls.
Temple shot just over 20 percent in the second half and did not make a field goal after the 12:21 mark.
Hammonds scored a game-high 16 points on seven of 13 shooting. It is the juniors highest point total since scoring 21 at UNCW in December.
Despite dealing with foul trouble for almost all of the second half, Hailey still managed to record her seventh straight double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Hailey was challenged on Wednesday night by Temple forward Victoria Macaulay. Macaulay played tight, physical defense, not letting the Charlotte star get the positioning she wanted in the post. However, the Temple senior fouled out with 5:40 left in the game after scoring 15 points.
Owls forward Natasha Thames nearly recored a double-double of her own. Thames scored eight points and pulled down 15 rebounds.
Charlotte freshman Kira Gordon had a brilliant shooting night off the bench. The forward made five of her six field goal attempts, giving her 10 points on the night. Gordon had a lot to do with the 49ers outscoring the Owls in bench points, 15-0.
“We practiced those shots, so I was just waiting for my opportunity to show it off” Gordon said after the game.
Dowe contributed 12 points for Charlotte to go along with her eight rebounds.
Temple entered the game as the best in the nation in the category of three-point field goal defense, holding opponents to 23.5 percent on average. That number will improve as Charlotte only shot 20 percent from behind the arc. Hillary Sigmon (eight points) made Charlotte’s only two three-pointers.
However, Temple did not manage to make a three-pointer at all (0-11).
The Owls will return to Philadelphia for a home game against Saint Louis on Saturday.
The 49ers will also travel to Philadelphia this weekend for a tough conference matchup on the road against Saint Joseph’s. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.