ASHEVILLE, N.C. – A barrage of three-pointers from the fourth-seeded Samford Bulldogs proved to be too much for the Elon women’s basketball team to overcome on Saturday, March 3 at Kimmel Arena, as the fifth-seeded Phoenix fell, 67-36, in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Southern Conference Championship.
Elon ends the season with a 16-14 mark. Samford improves to 18-12 and advances to the tournament semifinals tomorrow to face top-seeded Davidson.
“We started the game tight today and never really found a rhythm offensively,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “I think had we made something happen offensively in the early stages of the game it would have changed our mindset. Give a lot of credit to Samford. They are a great team and executed their shots against us today.
I’m proud of our team and I think we’ve had an outstanding season. There were a lot of obstacles we had to overcome throughout the season with injuries and we really didn’t put together a complete team until the second half of the season. We accomplished a lot of great things this season and the future is bright.”
Samford, who led the conference in three-point shooting this season, connected on a total of 11 shots from beyond the arc, shooting 55 percent from long range in the game. The Bulldogs’ 11 threes are the most given up in a single game by Elon all season and the most since Samford hit nine versus the Phoenix on Jan. 28 in Birmingham.
The Phoenix shot 20.4 percent in the setback on 11-of-54 field goal attempts, including a 2-of-19 clip from beyond the arc. Junior Ali Ford was the lone Elon player in double figures with 11 points. Kelsey Evans finished with nine points and nine rebounds.
Samford had two in double figures with Taylor Reece’s game-high 18 points leading the way. Shelby Campbell came off the bench for 13 points in the win.
The Bulldogs began the game on a 7-0 run and held the Phoenix without a field goal until 15:25 mark after a Harper baseline jumper.
Samford claimed a 15-point lead in the opening frame after a Campbell three-pointer from the top of the key made it a 22-7 game, forcing an Elon timeout with less than 10 remaining.
The maroon and gold trailed, 35-14, at intermission after shooting just 20 percent from the field on 6-of-20 field goal attempts. Samford, who led the conference in three-point shooting this season, knocked down seven from downtown in the first half and shot 46 percent overall from the field.
The Bulldogs continued to shoot well from three-point land in the second half, as a Ketcham three-ball from the corner put Elon behind, 47-18, with 15:29 to play, forcing a Phoenix timeout. Elon was never able to make a run and would get no closer than 26 for the remainder of the game.
Today’s game marked the final contest for seniors Aiesha Harper, Jermile’ Batten, Kallie Hovatter and Erica Keto.
Smith’s 16 wins this season mark the most by a first-year head coach in program history.