CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte women's basketball team was never able to fully get into an offensive rhythm and could not hold off a late run by Fordham, allowing the Rams to escape with a 59-56 victory over the 49ers Sunday afternoon in the Atlantic 10 opener for both schools inside Halton Arena.

Fordham netted the game's final four points and outscored the Niners 9-3 in the last five minutes to post its first victory in the series in the contest which was televised nationally on CBS Sports Network and featured regional radio coverage on ESPN 730 AM.

Charlotte (11-4, 0-1 A-10) received a double-double effort from senior Jennifer Hailey, who tallied 16 points and a game-best 16 rebounds for her 10th of the season and 30th of her career. Her 30 all-time double-doubles move her into a tie for fourth on the school's career chart with Sylvia Akers (1983-84). Hailey also extended her consecutive games streak with at least one blocked shot to 27, deflecting three Rams attempts.

Junior Ny Hammonds added 15 points, seven assists and five steals in playing the full 40 minutes for just the second time in her career, following a complete-game outing against Florida State Dec. 2.

Senior Jai Forney chipped in 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds, helping the 49ers to a 38-31 win on the glass.

Erin Rooney paced Fordham with 19 points, while Abigail Corning posted a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Samantha Clark rounded out a trio of Rams in double-figure scoring with 11 points.

The Niners built an early 4-0 lead in the game's first two minutes before Fordham (11-5, 1-0 A-10) responded with three-straight free throws from Marah Strickland after she was fouled taking a shot from behind the arc.

Sophomore Hillary Sigmon dropped in a 3-pointer at 14:44, helping Charlotte build a six-point cushion, 11-5, with 14:44 remaining. However, the Rams answered with a 9-3 run on the back of seven points from Clark during the next 3:18 to claim a 14-11 advantage at the 11:26 mark.

The two teams traded baskets for the next six minutes but a Hailey jumper at 5:43 ignited a 9-0 surge, putting the 49ers back on top, 26-20, with 2:31 left. Highlighting the run was an old-fashioned three-point play from Hammonds, who stole the ball at mid-court and converted a layup at the other end while being fouled. Her hustle sent the teams into the under-four minute media timeout at 3:50 and when play resumed, she dropped in the ensuing charity toss.

Although Charlotte had the six-point edge, it did not last long, as Fordham turned to Charlotte Stoddart for a jumper and Strickland for a triple, slicing the deficit to one. Hammonds hit a pair of free throws with 1:06 to go, widening the 49ers halftime cushion to three, 28-25.

Two defensive stops helped the Niners begin the second half before Sigmon drained another 3-pointer, pushing the advantage back to a half-dozen, 31-25. As the teams continued to trade baskets and the Charlotte lead fluctuating between six and two, it would not be until freshman Kira Gordon hit the second of a two-shot set at the foul line to give the 49ers their largest lead of the game at seven, 51-44, with 7:35 left.

A pair of layups from Arielle Collins and Clark cut the gap to three, 51-48, before Hailey made it a five-point lead again. Rooney then tallied five-straight for the Rams, including an old-fashioned three-point play at 3:36 to knot the score at 53-53.

Senior Amanda Dowe gave the Niners their final lead, 55-53, with her lone field goal at 3:16. Rooney knocked down two more free throws, forcing another tie, at the 1:43 mark. Hailey hit a free throw with 57 seconds to play but Corning hit a turnaround jumper and Rooney connected on a pair of charity tosses with 15 seconds remaining to ice the Fordham triumph.

Charlotte returns to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday when it makes its first conference road trip of the campaign, in Kingston, R.I., against Rhode Island.

Charlotte vs. Fordham Postgame Quotes (1.13.13)
Head Coach Cara Consuegra

Opening statement
A disappointing loss for us. I couldn't be more disappointed with our defensive effort. I have not seen our team perform like that defensively in a really long time. We didn't force any tough shots for Fordham. We let them run everything that they wanted to run. We did not disrupt them, we did not communicate, we had multiple mistakes and switches, and the game plan was probably the poorest effort I've seen out of my team defensively in a long time. You can't let an opponent who's 10-5, and confident, come to your home court and shoot almost 45% from the field. That's just a direct correlation of our defensive effort and unwillingness to adjust after every timeout. You know Fordham's doing a good job this year and they earned this win. It just disappointing to play like that at home. Offensively we struggled, just trying to get into a rhythm. They doubled us inside and gave us a lot of open shots that we knocked out in the second half, but we struggled with in the first half. And certainly, you have to point out, in any close game when we shoot 50% from the free throw line, you have to put yourself in a position to win a game, and that's just has to change.

On what was discussed in timeout with 12 seconds left
Well they kept switching up defenses on us which threw us off a little bit, so what we wanted to run we couldn't run. So we called a timeout and we had 12 seconds on the shot clock. We ran a sideline play. We weren't able to get the penetration from Jai that we were hoping to get, and we ended up taking a pretty rough shot. Just not a great execution offensively today. Our execution was really poor. We didn't set screens really well and we didn't really attack the way that we're capable of attacking.

On team discussion to overcome loss
Well we just have to keep going. It's early in the season, it's the first game of the conference season. It's disappointing, but you can't pack it in. I'm always honest with my team. I told them how extremely disappointed I was, and I challenge each of them to come back better. I have to be tougher on them. We have some people who are banged up, so I went a little bit lighter on them in practice yesterday, and clearly we're not emotionally mature enough to handle that. I just have to be tougher on them all the time and I will be.

On bench play in conference games
We'll have to see. That was based on the flow of the game. It was such a tight game throughout; I wanted to use my most experienced players. Kira Gordon played fabulous, that's why she got a lot of time. Amanda just didn't have it today. She didn't play her best game. Kira just stepped up and did fabulously for us. So, it's probably just going to be a matter of game by game. I think if we could've gotten a little bit more cushion, then we would've been able to rotate a little more.

On capability of Amanda Dowe
Amanda's a great player. She just struggles with her confidence. When she missed a couple of those wide open shots early, I think her confidence just dropped. There's just no reason for that. We just have to get better about getting her to battle through adversity, and let her know that when things aren't going perfect for her, she's still capable. She's still one of the best post players in this league, whether she's making or missing shots.

On Jennifer Hailey's performance today
She did a great job. They doubled her every time she touched it, they hung all over her, and made it very difficult, but I thought she did a very good job. Every once in a while she rushes a little bit. You see her throw up a shot where she doesn't get squared and she doesn't have her balance, but we kept talking to her. Down the stretch you saw her take, for the most part, some good shots. It's just some adjustment for her, learning as the game goes, what's open for her and how people are playing her. She takes coaching really well, and it's a direct performance of her performance tonight.

On trying to be aggressive to draw a fifth foul on Erin Rooney and Marah Strickland
Yeah, it's just tough how they play. They're sagging off our guards. They didn't play us tight, so it's really hard to drive on them. They do a good job of protecting their kids that way. So that just makes it tough to be able to go at them when we would play a team tough, aggressive, and denying and giving us those opportunities to drive on them.

Junior Guard Ny Hammonds

On losing to Fordham for the first time
It hurts pretty bad because this is the first time in Charlotte history that Fordham has ever beat us. It's very disappointing like Coach said. I feel like we just gave them the game. I feel like they worked hard and earned the game; we didn't.

On what more she could have done to help the team today
Defensively I have to get better. Off the ball, I'm not doing too well. On the ball, I'm pressuring the ball well. But defensively I have to get better. I need to help my teammates more and communicate more.

On her recent improvement of turnovers and steals
I'm not nonchalant. It's not that I don't care, but I'm just a little nonchalant with everything. So, I'm more focused. I'm not iffy about the decisions I'm making.