The College of Charleston Cougars women’s basketball team fell to the Charlotte 49ers, 62-49, in a back-and-forth season opener on Sunday (Nov. 13) at TD Arena.
While the College was not able to come out of their first game of the year with a victory, senior guard and two-time CAA defensive player of the year, Breanna Bolden set the program’s all-time steals record.
After tallying a career-high eight steals against Charlotte, Bolden set a new record for most career steals in the College’s Division I era, with 243. Bolden broke Jill Brown’s record of 240 set between the 2010 and 2014 seasons. Bolden has the rest of her senior season to not only put this record out of reach, but also to set additional milestones..
“I don’t focus on getting steals, I just play the game,” Bolden said. “It was the first game of the season, and I was excited for it. I don’t really think about milestones like this, but it definitely means a lot to get it.”
Overall, Charleston and Charlotte put forth strong efforts throughout the game. However, the 49ers picked up the pace during the final quarter of action, eventually extending their margin of victory with a 19-point lead at the 5:02 mark of the fourth quarter.
“I saw effort for some parts of the game, not as much in some parts, and I think that kind of bit us in the butt a little bit,” said Charleston head coach Candice Jackson. “Charlotte, they played great, their shooters did what they needed to do and their bigs did what they needed to do and that’s how they got us. They ran the floor on transitions and they shot the ball well from the outer side. We held them to 28 points in the first half. But with a team like that, you have to play two halves of basketball and we really didn’t do that today and they got the best of us there.”
After a season with the 49ers, Charleston’s redshirt junior forward Tanisha Brown sat out the full 2015-16 season per NCAA Transfer Protocol. In what is generally a rare occurrence during one’s collegiate career, Brown faced her former team in the opening game of the season and tallied 10 points,and 12 rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
“I think it was okay, I pretty much looked for my teammates to get a bit of that nervousness out,” Brown said. “I think a lot of the first half was like, nervousness, and just finally getting that first game out of the way wasn’t enough and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The Cougars have a tough task ahead away from Charleston this week as they will begin a two-game road trip to Rock Hill, S.C. and Raleigh, N.C. to face Winthrop on Wednesday (Nov. 16, 7 p.m.) and N.C. State on Saturday (Nov. 19, 6 p.m.). Coach Jackson cited improvements that she hopes to see moving forward.
“We have to shoot the ball a lot better,” Jackson said. “I think that we settled for a lot of shots that we didn’t need. We turned the ball over too much; we had 23 turnovers to seven assists and some of that early on was nervousness, kind of getting those jitters out, and then other times, we just weren’t ready for the ball or we weren’t connecting with our teammates as much as we should have and so we just have little things just like that [to improve on]. The effort piece, like I said, has to carry on from start to finish for us to beat Winthrop.”