Charlotte, NC - Today's match-up between Old Dominion and the Charlotte 49ers marked the Conference USA opener for Old Dominion and Charlotte as the 49ers were trying to revive themselves after a tough loss at Missouri.
The two teams met twice last season, with each team picking up a win. Today's game posed a possible career record for 49er, Ciara Gregory. She entered today's game with 97 career 3-pointers, needing only three more to become just the 11th player in school history to register at least 100 in her career.
The Lady Monarchs got off to a good start, leading the 49ers 24-16 at the end of the first quarter. Charlotte opened up 1st period consistently missing two-pointers, while also searching for their defense who seemed to show up late in efforts at today's game. The 49ers needed to do a better job of guarding the Lady Monarchs if they planned to close the Old Dominion 10-2 run after the first 3:51.
Lady Monarch Makayla Timmons ended the first period at the buzzer as she brought the score to 24-16, leaving Old Dominion with a very impressive first half. After the first half, the Lady Monarchs had shot at 57% and the 49ers at 57%.
Old Dominion held the lead, 39-32 as the two teams battled into the third. At the start of the third, Old Dominion went back and forth. Today's game was a fast-paced battle to see who can take home the win.
With 4:48 remaining in the third, Charlotte's Gregory had only 16 minutes of playing time, not quite getting the time she hoped for to earn a career record for herself.
At the end of the third, the Lady Monarchs' small but mighty Timmons had 7 points for Old Dominion. Destinee Young also showed up with 12 points and 9 rebounds.
With 7:32 to go as Charlotte started to catch-up up, 50-44. And their star player, Simms, was in foul trouble with three fouls, but it was imperative that she stayed in the game.
She was able to, and Simms led her team to victory. She finished with 18 points and 5 rebounds. This was a great way for Old Dominion to start off a set of conference games as they take home the win 71-59.
"A lot of people try to attack me and get me in foul trouble to get me out of the game, and it's trusting my teammates and the coaches that I have that they would take me out when needed, but I would have to come right back in with the same amount of energy to help my team," said Simms after almost reaching foul trouble.
You can catch more Lady Monarch action on January 7th when they face off against LA Tech. Charlotte will continue to fight for their next win when they take on Southern Miss at home on January 7th.