Charlotte women’s basketball could not hold off the Davidson College Wildcats on Wednesday, Dec. 21, in a 68-55 defeat. The loss follows a close victory over the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Dec. 19 in Charlotte’s first Conference USA (C-USA) match of the year.
The battle against the Wildcats is the last non-conference contest in 2022-2023 for the 49ers.
The 49ers took charge early, outscoring the Wildcats 15-7 in the first, but this would be the only quarter Charlotte had the advantage.
Redshirt sophomore Dazia Lawrence and fifth-year Jada McMillian highlighted the first quarter, leading the offense with seven and six points, respectively. Lawrence made Charlotte’s only three-pointer of the quarter, coming within the match’s first minute.
“It’s always important that we come out and set the tone,” said Head Coach Cara Consuegra. “We wanted to try and control the pace of this game, which we did really well in the first quarter.”
Davidson came out with a roar for the second. While they could not take the lead, they came within a point of the 49ers before going into halftime two points behind at 32-30.
The 49ers kept the pressure until halfway through the second, at which point the Wildcats clawed back the advantage. Davidson’s Elle Sutphin scored 14 points in the quarter, nearly matching Charlotte’s total points.
The loss of momentum continued for Charlotte as the game returned from halftime. The 49ers only put up ten points to the Wildcats’ 22 to fall behind 52-42 going into the final quarter.
Sophomore Mya McGraw kept the 49ers head-to-head with Davidson early on, scoring four points to match McMillian’s contribution for the quarter. McGraw’s performance, tying a career-high of 12 points in a game, was a notable point on the Charlotte roster.
“She’s improving tremendously,” said Consuegra. “Mya [McGraw]’s playing the way we expect her to play. I believe that she can be a dominant player in Conference USA, and she’s really locked in and doing the things we’re asking her to do.”
Charlotte found no answer to break through the Wildcats’ lead in the final 10 minutes.
Unable to make three-pointers, the Green and White made a gradual campaign led by Lawrence and McGraw that produced 13 points to Davidson’s 16 for the quarter.
No single player shined out among the Wildcats, with many different contributors in their sustained effort to bring home the win.
The 49ers narrowed Davidson’s lead to seven points at its closest early in the quarter, but by the end, they had fallen 13 points behind to finish 68-55.
While the defeat to Davidson is a setback for the 49ers, in their conference championship season last year, Charlotte also lost to Davidson by a more significant 14-point margin. The more telling examination will be in the coming weeks.
“We have a lot of work to do. We’re going to go into two really tough environments [at Middle Tennessee and LA Tech] where things aren’t going to feel fair. I think today, as soon as things got tough, we didn’t display the heart and toughness that is what our program is known for. For us to be able to compete again for a championship, we have to be tougher than we were today,” said Head Coach Consuegra.
Beyond McGraw’s remarkable efforts, McMillian passed 1000 career points with a 14-point showing against the Wildcats. Lawrence topped the roster with 17 points for the Green and White.
Charlotte takes on the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on Thursday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. Viewers can see the match on ESPN+.