ELON, N.C. – Winners of four straight, the Elon women’s basketball team is set for the 2012 Southern Conference Tournament in Asheville on Saturday, March 3, as the fifth-seeded Phoenix takes on fourth-seeded Samford. Tip is set for 2:30 p.m. inside Kimmel Arena.
ELON VS. SAMFORD: Elon and Samford will meet for just the 10th time on Saturday. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 6-3 and the two squads have split the last four meetings. On Jan. 28 in Birmingham, Samford handed Elon a 67-53 setback after the Bulldogs led by as many as 22 points. Ali Ford broke Elon’s all-time three-point record in the loss. In the first meeting this season on Dec. 5 in Alumni Gym, Elon claimed a 69-44 victory over the Bulldogs behind a game-high 20 points from Sam Coffer. The win was Charlotte Smith’s first Southern Conference victory. The two teams have met just once in tournament play, as the Bulldogs claimed a 57-38 win over Elon two seasons ago.
FIRST YEAR SUCCESS: With 16 wins so far this season, Elon head coach Charlotte Smith has set the program mark for the most victories in a single season by a first-year head coach.
GOING INTO TOURNAMENT PLAY: Having won four straight to end the regular season, this season is the hottest the team has been going into the Southern Conference Tournament. The Phoenix went into the 2008 tournament winning three straight before falling to Western Carolina in the semifinals.
STREAKING: This year’s four-game winning streak to end the regular season is the program’s longest since joining the Division I ranks.
AWARD WINNERS: The Southern Conference head coaches honored Ali Ford and Sam Coffer this week. Ford earned all-league honors for the third-straight season, while Coffer was named to the all-freshman squad.
LAST FOUR GAMES: During its current four-game winning streak, Elon is averaging 72.8 points per game and is outscoring opponents by an average of 20.8 points. Aiesha Harper (15.8 ppg), Kelsey Evans (13.0 ppg) and Ali Ford (10.0 ppg) are all averaging in double figures for the Phoenix over the last four. The Phoenix defense has held its last four opponents to an average of 52 points per contest, as Elon is winning the turnover ratio by a +4.8 margin.
ELON IN THE SOCON TOURNAMENT: Elon has a 5-8 record all-time in the Southern Conference Tournament. The fourth-seeded Phoenix opened last year’s tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn., with a 69-62 win over fifth-seeded Furman before falling to top-seeded Appalachian State in the semifinals.
EXTRA WEIGHT: The Phoenix will look to add some extra weight to its bus on the ride home from Asheville, as the Southern Conference Championship trophy weighs approximately 10.7 pounds.
TWELVE WINS: Elon’s 12 wins in league play this year tie last year’s squad and the 2003-04 team for the most conference wins since joining the league.
TOURNAMENT EXPERIENCE: Aiesha Harper enters Saturday’s game versus Samford with the most Southern Conference Tournament games under her belt of anyone on Elon’s roster. Harper has played in six tournament contests in her career and has totaled 119 minutes (19.8 per game).
IN-STATE TOURNAMENT PLAY: Elon is 1-1 all-time in Southern Conference Tournament games played in the state of North Carolina. Elon went 1-1 in the 2009-10 tournament in Charlotte, topping Wofford in the quarterfinals before falling to Samford in the semifinals.
TOURNAMENT RECORDS: Ali Ford scored 25 points in last year’s SoCon Tournament game versus Furman, the most in a single game by an Elon player since joining the conference. Kelsey Evans’ 14 boards against Appalachian State last year are the most in a single game by an Elon player since the school became a member of the SoCon.
MARCH MADNESS: Elon has an 18-20 record all-time in games played in March. As a player and assistant coach at UNC spanning 13 total seasons, Elon head coach Charlotte Smith had a combined record of 60-20 (.750) in the month of March.