Charlotte, N.C. - The Gardner-Webb trio of Courtney Epps, Dominique Hudson and Monique Hudson combined to score 45 Gardner-Webb's 60 points, as the Lady Bulldogs shot 28 percent from the field in the 74-60 loss to the Charlotte 49ers in the first round of the WNIT in Halton Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

 

The slow starts that haunted the Lady Bulldogs during the entire Big South Conference Tournament last weekend continued for GWU on Thursday night, as Gardner-Webb was 1-of-17 from the floor to start the game, falling behind Charlotte 17-4 early.

 

Despite the poor shooting, Gardner-Webb was able to stay in the game for most of the first 20 minutes of play, as the Hudson sisters combined for 22 points, while the Lady Bulldogs forced Charlotte into nine first half turnovers.

 

GWU got as close as 11 at 27-16 with 7:33 to play in the opening half, however, two GWU turnovers, which led to four quick points in the closing minutes of the opening 20 minutes of play, allowed the 49ers to pull out to a 45-30 halftime lead.

 

For the half, the Lady Bulldogs were 11-of-38, 28.9 percent, from the field, while Charlotte shot 18-of-33, 54.5 percent, and GWU was out rebounded 29-17 by the 49ers in the opening 20 minutes of play.

 

In the second half, the Lady Bulldogs held the 49ers to only eight made goals, however, the offense never showed up for GWU as the Lady Bulldogs got no closer the 12 in the final 20 minutes of play.

 

For the game, Gardner-Webb shot 28 percent compared to the 49ers 48.1 percent, while Charlotte pounded the Lady Bulldogs on the glass, out rebounding GWU 54-39 for the game.

 

The Lady Bulldogs were outscored 34-26 in points in the paint and 18-4 in fast break points, both vital roles in the GWU success all season long.

 

Epps led the way with 17 points, as she was 7-of-8 from the charity stripe, while Dominique Hudson and Monique Hudson had 16 and 12 points, respectively.

 

Charlotte had five players score in double-figures led by Kendra Holms 22 points and Ashley Spriggs 12 points.  Forward Erin Floyd had 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Shannon McCallum had 11 points and eight rebounds.

 

Gardner-Webb's (28-5) record setting season ends with a program high 28 wins and it's first-ever WNIT appearance and postseason appearance in its NCAA Division I history.  Its 28 wins also ties the Big South Conference record for the most wins in a single season by a Big South Conference team, as the Lady Bulldogs won the program's first-ever regular season conference championship title in its 35-year history.

 

The loss was the second-straight for the Lady Bulldogs, its first and only losing streak of the season.

 

The 49ers improve to 13-1 at home this season and 18-13 overall on the year.  Charlotte will now host N.C. A&T on Sunday, March 21, at 3 p.m. in the second round of the WNIT.

 

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