While the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team will be up in Boone to take on the App State Mountaineers tomorrow, the women will finally be home for the first time in a week and a half. And their opponent, the South Carolina Gamecocks (#10 USA Today, #12 AP), will be as tough as they’ve faced in some time.
The Gamecocks (8-0) are well stocked in several areas. They have three players averaging double figures in scoring, led by Tiffany Mitchell (15.0). Aleighsa Welch and Alaina Coates (combining for 17 rebounds an outing) lead the way on the glass for a team that is outrebounding opponents 43.1 to 29.8. Manning the point is sophomore Khadijah Sessions, averaging 4.25 assists a game with just eleven turnovers all season.
If there’s an area the Gamecocks do struggle at, it’s the free throw line. Dawn Staley’s squad only averages 62.6% from the stripe.
Staley, a three-time Olympic gold medalist who is regarded as one of the best players in WNBA history, is no stranger to the Queen City. In 1999, she was the first-ever pick of the then-expansion Charlotte Sting and was a part of the Sting squad that won the Eastern Conference championship in 2001. She would end her career with Houston after being traded to the Comets in 2005 and retiring in 2006.
In a sense, Cara Consuegra is 1-0 all time against Staley.
Consuegra and her Utah Starrz actually faced off against Staley and the Sting in 2011, Consuegra’s lone season in the league. That game, played at the Charlotte Coliseum, went to Utah (73-59) as Staley was held to only two points. Consuegra picked up a rebound in that contest.