Charlotte, NC - The UNC Charlotte 49ers hosted Marshall's Thundering Herd on February 18th at Halton Arena. This is the second meeting between the two teams this season, the 49ers knocking off the Herd earlier in the season with a 3-point, buzzer-beating, game-winning shot.
The 49ers are now 15-9 and 8-5 in C-USA as they took the win, 87-77, while Marshall dropped to 16-8 and 6-7 in the conference.
"We challenged our team really hard at halftime about our defense, coming in after the first half we were very disappointed in terms of giving up 46 points, and I basically told them if they wanted to win this game they had to defend," said Charlotte Head Coach Cara Consuegra.
"A huge credit to our kids for stepping up defensively. We talked about it all season; it's been an area where we just haven't been consistent, and I thought in the second half, we were consistent."
The first half of the second match-up had the same vibe, with the two teams battling it out to see who could regain the lead, like a game of ping pong that you couldn't keep up with.
At the end of the first period, both teams were tied at 26. Charlotte's Ciara Gregory fired a three but Marshall echoed from behind to tie to score at 32 with 6:30 remaining. Next time, it was 49er Lefty Webster who sunk it in for three but with 4:00 remaining, the two teams were tied at 35.
You guessed it, at the next timeout as 1:41 remained, each team brought the score up to 42. At the end of the first half, Marshall held the lead, 46-44. Charlotte's Alexis Alexander led with 12 points while Kira Gordon followed closely behind with 11 points and five assists. Kiana Evans led for The Herd with 16 points.
Charlotte's Webster started the second half with a vicious smack down to stop Marshall's rumble. Two steals from Charlotte and a Marshall turnover motivated the 49ers as they took the ball and ran with it, the 49ers led The Herd at the end of the third, 62-59.
As 7:48 remained in the game, The Herd fell behind, 66-59, shooting from the field a paltry 39%. As the clock counted down, Charlotte came close to gaining a 10-point lead on Marshall, but they couldn't seem to find it. A 49er steal as only seconds remained took Charlotte to a win, 87-77.
"It is a great opportunity to play these two teams at home, at this point in time of the conference race," said Consuegra speaking on the matchup against Marshall and the upcoming meeting against WKU.
The Charlotte 49ers will be back in action on February 20th as they host WKU. Marshall will hit the road again to face Old Dominion Saturday at 4 p.m.