Basketball season is in full swing. Yes, you follow the Tar Heels, the Blue Devils, the Gamecocks and more, but there are five women’s programs in the immediate Charlotte area. Get to know these local teams, and the Charlotteans connected with them.
Charlotte 49ers – NCAA Division I
Location: University City
Colors: Green and gold
Conference: Conference USA
Head Coach: Cara Consuegra | Eighth Season
Charlotte averages 66 points per game, with junior guard Jade Phillips leading the team with 15 points per game.
They open conference play at Western Kentucky on Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. Their first home league game comes against Florida International on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.
Charlottean Highlight: Rinnah Green | Freshman Guard
Green transferred from Butler High to Hickory Ridge for her senior season. Her performance earned her a place on the 2018 All-Southwestern Conference First Team, as she produced 10.2 points per game, 3.5 assists, three rebounds and 2.8 steals per game with a team that went 26-2.
WNBA: Tanisha Wright | 49ers Assistant Coach
Wright was drafted 12th overall by the Seattle Storm, making her Penn State’s highest-drafted player. She played with the Storm from 2005-14, winning the WNBA Championship with them in 2010. Then she spent two seasons with the New York Liberty in 2015-16, before joining the 49ers as a coach in 2017. However, she could not keep herself from the court, signing with the Minnesota Lynx for the 2018 season.
Davidson Wildcats – NCAA Division I
Colors: Red and black
Conference: Atlantic 10 Conference
Head Coach: Gayle Coats Fulks | Second Season
Sophomore guard Katie Turner leads the Wildcats with 13.6 points per game. They average 68.9 points per game. Their next game is at Princeton on Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. A-10 play begins at home for the Wildcats on Jan. 6 against George Mason at 2 p.m.
Winthrop Eagles – NCAA Division I
Location: Rock Hill
Colors: Red and gold
Conference: Big South Conference
Head coach: Lynette Woodard | Second Season
Woodard is the closest thing to basketball royalty in the women’s game. Before she became the Eagles’ head coach, she made history on the court as a two-time U.S. Olympian, four-time All-American and the all-time Division I women’s leading scorer with 3,649 points for Kansas. She became the first woman to play for the Harlem Globetrotters, earning a place in their hall of fame in 2004. She has also been inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame (1990), the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2002, 2004) and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2005).
Charlottean Highlight: Anika Riley | Sophomore Guard
The Davidson Day School alumnae averages eight points per game and 7.1 rebounds for the Eagles.
The Eagles average 53.8 points per game, with freshman forward Kem Nwabudu leads them with an average 8.6 points per game. They open their Big South campaign at home on Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. versus Longwood.
Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls – NCAA Division II
Colors: Gold and blue
Head Coach: Steve Joyner Jr.
Joyner became the first to win the CIAA tournament as both a player and a coach when the Golden Bulls beat Virginia Union in the 2017 final. Joyner Jr.won with the men’s side under his father Steve Joyner Sr., the current athletic director at Smith and head men’s basketball coach. They became the first father-son duo to win the tournament.
Freshman guard Teana Lewis leads the Golden Bulls with 11.2 points per game. They begin CIAA play at Lincoln, who knocked them out of the CIAA tournament in February, on Dec. 13 at 5:30 p.m.
Queens Royals – NCAA Division II
Colors: Blue and gold
Conference: South Atlantic Conference
Head Coach: Sarah Jansen
Senior forward Lade Adepoju leads the squad with an average 12 points per game. The Royals, who average 66.7 points per game, are 0-2 in conference play. They host Lincoln Memorial in their next conference game on Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.
Johnson and Wales Wildcats – USCAA Division II
Colors: Blue and yellow
Conference: Eastern Metro Athletic Conference
Head Coach: Aram Parunak | Interim
Parunak steps in at Interim for Jennifer King, who won the USCAA Division II National Championship last year. King was also recognized as the USCAA Division II Coach of the Year, serving as a coaching intern with the Carolina Panthers during the offseason.
Charlottean Highlight: Ineesha Hankerson | Junior forward
Hankerson, an alumnae of Hopewell High, leads the Wildcats with 16.8 points per game.
Charlottean Highlight: Chase Muhammad | Sophomore Guard
The Ardrey Kell High alumnae is second in scoring for Johnson and Wales with 13.8 points per game.
The most recent collegiate program in the area, the Wildcats’ established a women’s basketball program in 2014. They average 72.2 points per game. The Wildcats, 0-2 in conference play, host Mid-Atlantic Christian in a league game on Dec. 7 at 6 p.m.
This article is one of many in our newest series highlighting the Charlotte women doing great things to make our town the vibrant, growing, exciting place we all call home. If we missed your favorite female athlete, please do comment with her info below so all can see and share in your pride.