With another postseason victory still within reach, the Charlotte 49ers' women's basketball team fell victim to a familiar trend early in the second half of their second-round Women's NIT game against North Carolina A&T.
The 49ers (18-14), down by three at halftime, gave up a 6-1 run to open the half and fell short on a late comeback, ending their season with a 79-70 loss to the surprising Aggies on Sunday afternoon at Halton Arena.
"It's been an issue for a large part of our season and we've talked about it but never quite found the answer," said Charlotte coach Karen Aston. "It really bit us today."
Shannon McCallum scored 20 points and Kendria Jones added 17 for the 49ers, who have played in either the NCAA tournament or the NIT for the past eight seasons.
Amber Calvin scored a game-high 24 points for the Aggies (23-10), who advance to a third-round game against Miami and former 49ers coach Katie Meier. Ta'Wuana Cook scored 19 for A&T.
That starting backcourt combination posed problems all afternoon for the 49ers, who trailed 35-32 at the half. The A&T lead grew to 67-56 with 6 minutes and 49 seconds to play. But Charlotte went on an 11-2 run, capped by a McCallum layup that made the score 69-67 with 2:06 left.
"That came from pride," said 49ers senior guard Aysha Jones, who scored 10 points in her final game for Charlotte, of the comeback. "We didn't want to let each other down. But when you get behind 10 or 11 points it takes a lot of energy out of you to come back."
Charlotte didn't get any closer, as the Aggies hit free throws to seal the win.
"Every time we made a run they responded," Aston said. "They were tough and just more aggressive. But I'm proud of the season we had and the way we regrouped after a rough start (1-5 after the first six games)."