Thursday, March 3, 2011

All's not well heading into women's tournament

The 49ers are heading into the Atlantic 10 women’s basketball tournament in less-than stellar shape.

The fifth-seed 49ers (21-8, 9-5) face No. 12 Massachusetts (7-22, 3-11) in a 2:30 p.m. game Friday in the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass., without suspended forward Paige McCallum, backup guard Katie Meador (out for season with a knee injury) and possibly freshman forward Gabby Tyler, who is recovering from a sprained ankle.

“We’ve had some things snow ball on us recently,” said Charlotte coach Karen Aston. “We were rolling along, then we stumbled a little bit and we haven’t been able to catch back up.”

What once had the makings of a special season now appears to be teetering on the brink. The 49ers have lost three of their last four games, and needed to win just one of their final two to clinch third place and a first-round bye in the tournament. But Charlotte lost to Duquesne, then to St. Bonaventure last week to fall to fifth.

They’re playing without McCallum, a sophomore who has been a constant disciplinary challenge for Aston and is suspended for the season for “team issues.” Meador had been averaging about 10 minutes a game, but she’ll miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

There’s hope that Tyler, who made the league’s all-rookie team but missed the St. Bonaventure game with a sprained ankle, will be back Friday.

Charlotte still has a solid core, led by second-team all-conference guard Shannon McCallum (who’s had to play some forward in the absence of her sister Paige and Tyler), guards Epiphany Wilson and Kendria Holmes, and forwards Amanda Dowe and Jen Hailey.

“We can erase some of these memories,” said Aston, whose team would play No. 4 Richmond at 2:30 p.m. Saturday if it wins Friday. “We can get it going again.”


Anonymous said...

Jeez, what the heck is it with our UNC Charlotte basketball teams? Discipline problems, suspensions at critical times -