ROCK HILL, SC—The Winthrop women’s team will travel up the highway to face Charlotte at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday night as the Eagles look to open the season with their fifth straight victory for the first time since 1972.
To be able to pull off a win over the 49ers will be a tough task as Charlotte has won the last 15 meetings against Winthrop and owns a 18-1 overall advantage in the series. Winthrop’s only victory came 29 years ago when the Eagles defeated Charlotte 74-61 in the old Mine Shaft. Charlotte has also earned a trip to the last 11 NCAA tournaments.
The game can be heard at: http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/winthrop.portal#.
Winthrop takes a 4-0 record into the contest after defeating William and Mary last Saturday at home, 84-71. Charlotte is 2-3 with victories over preseason Big South Conference favorite Liberty (66-56) and UCF (62-52) at home. The three losses came on the road against Kansas State (73-65), Minnesota (90-55), and Florida Gulf Coast (78-73).
The Eagles’ early success has been a result of improved field goal shooting and rebounding. As a team Winthrop is connecting on 44 percent from the field and is outrebounding its opponents by 11.3 per game. In the win over William and Mary, Winthrop shot 48 percent from the floor and pulled down 30 more rebounds that the Tribe (56-26).
Senior point guard Dequesha McClanahan, who was named the Big South Player of the Week after averaging a double-double last week against Saint Louis and William and Mary, continues to be the leader on the court while 6-3 sophomore center Schaquilla Nunn has been a force on the boards and in shot blocking. McClanahan leads all Big South Conference scorers with a 21.5 average while Nunn is the top rebounder and shot blocker in the league with averages of 12.0 boards and 3.0 blocks per game.
McClanahan, who has already broken the Winthrop women’s scoring record, is closing in on the all-time Winthrop record which is now held by Charles Brunson at 1,850. She enters the Charlotte game with 1,777 career points and needs only 74 more points to set that mark. She is also moving up on the assist list and needs 43 more to set a new Winthrop record. Sheila Bailey holds the record now at 595.
Freshman forward Erica Williams was expected to be a force early on in her collegiate career, but no one expected the kind of performances that she has given in her first four games. She has earned all three Big South Freshman of the Week honors and is averaging 20.5 points and 8.0 rebounds after four games. She is coming off the first double-double of her career with a 19-point, 11-rebound effort against William and Mary.
Charlotte has a balanced scoring attack that features three players averaging 10 points per game. Ny Hammonds averages 10.3 points followed by Kira Gordon at 10.2 and Ayanna Holmes, 10.0. Gordon is also the team’s leading rebounder at 5.6 per game.
Following the Charlotte game, Winthrop will head to Moon Township, PA near Pittsburgh to face UT-Martin on Friday afternoon and Robert Morris on Saturday afternoon in the RMU Thanksgiving Classic. Both games are scheduled to tip off at 4:00 p.m.