ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team held off a late surge from the Campbell Fighting Camels on Wednesday night, Dec. 14, to come up on the positive end of an 89-88 victory in non-conference action from Alumni Gym.
After a Kelsey Evans layup gave Elon (4-4) a 10-point lead, 87-77, with 3:05 remaining in the game, Campbell (6-3) went on a 9-0 run over the next two minutes to make it a one-point game, 87-86, with 1:10 remaining.
Elon responded following the Campbell make after Evans scored underneath the basket with 41 seconds left on a great find on the baseline by Ali Ford to extend the Phoenix’s lead to three points, 89-86, allowing head coach Charlotte Smith to call a timeout.
Campbell’s Amanda O’Neil limited the Phoenix to a one-point lead with six seconds remaining after her layup made it an 89-88 game, forcing the Camels into a must-foul situation. Campbell managed to grab the defensive board after Aiesha Harper’s missed one-and-one free throw attempt with three seconds left, but O’Neil’s attempt for the game-winner from just beyond half court sailed wide of the basket to secure the Elon win.
“We shot the ball well tonight against a quality opponent and a strong defensive team,” Smith said. “We’re an excellent offensive team when we execute, share the ball and have a positive assist-to-turnover ratio, and we showed flashes of that tonight. But ideally, we’d like to be more of a well-rounded team that focuses on defense and rebounding. It was a long layoff heading into tonight’s game and I’m proud of the energy our team showed late in the first half and for the rest of the game.”
Evans just missed her recording her 17th-career double-double in the win after finishing the night with 21 points and nine boards. Evans went 7-of-11 from the field and 7-of-9 at the free-throw line, which included three old-fashioned three-point plays.
Ford, who came off the bench for the first time in 72 career games played, also finished with 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. With the six three-point field goals, Ford has eclipsed 200 career makes from three-point land, now sitting at 203. The Morganton, N.C., native was one three-pointer shy of tying her career high set last year against USC Upstate in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
Elon shot a season-best 54 percent from the field in the win, sinking 31-of-57 field goal attempts, including 11-of-21 (52 percent) of its shots from long distance.
The Fighting Camels put five players in double figures in the high-scoring affair, led by Tonisha Baker’s 25 points on 8-of-18 shooting. Baker also grabbed nine boards for Campbell.
Elon’s Sam Coffer, Zora Stephenson, Aiesha Harper, Kelsey Harris and Lei Lei Hairston all finished with eight points in the win. Harper tied a career-high with seven assists for the Phoenix, while Coffer dished out a career-best five assists with zero turnovers.
The two squads combined to shoot a total of 60 free throws in the game. Elon went 16-of-24 (67 percent) at the line, while Campbell knocked down 26-of-36 (72 percent) of its attempts.
The Phoenix went up by as many as 12 points in the first half and took a 10-point lead, 44-34, at intermission. The maroon and gold shot 59 percent from the field in the first half and limited Campbell to a 30-percent clip on 11-of-37 shooting.
Tonight’s game saw the scored tied a total of 14 times with 13 lead-changes.
The Phoenix jumps back into Southern Conference action on Saturday, Dec. 17, when it heads to Greenville, S.C., to face the Furman Paladins at 2 p.m. Elon then shuffles off to Spartanburg, S.C., to face Wofford on Monday at 2 p.m.