Elon Women’s Basketball Hosts WSSU Rams in Season Opener Friday

Posted by Press Release on November 7, 2013 at 4:26 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – It’s been 252 days since the Elon women’s basketball team last played a regular-season game in Alumni Gym, but that changes on Friday, Nov. 8, as the Phoenix opens up the 2013-14 regular season at 5 p.m. against Winston-Salem State as part of an Elon basketball doubleheader. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for all youth 12 and under.

Date: Friday, Nov. 8
Site: Elon, N.C. (Alumni Gym)
Series: Elon leads, 11-1
Last Meeting: Dec. 13, 2009 – Elon won, 71-59
Radio: WSOE 89.3 FM – Matt Krause and Joe DiRienzo will have the call

Last Time Out
Elon looked strong in its lone exhibition game last weekend against Pfeiffer. The Phoenix won handedly, 83-38, over the Falcons and shot a blistering 50 percent from the field. Autumn Carter led the team with 24 points, while rookie Jenifer Rhodes hauled down 15 rebounds. Zora Stephenson finished with 19 points and seven assists, followed by Kelsey Harris who looked impressive all-around with 13 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Scouting the Rams
WSSU returns nine players from last year’s 15-13 team, which advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIAA tournament. The Rams also welcome three newcomers, two of which played previously at Bethune-Cookman. The Rams lost to ACC power NC State in an exhibition last week, 80-46, but looked strong on the boards with 37 total rebounds. Jovonah Graham led WSSU with 10 points and eight boards. The Rams are coached A.G. Hall, who is now in his second season.

The Series
The Phoenix owns an 11-1 all-time record over the Rams with the series dating back to 1979. The last time the two met in Alumni Gym was in the 2008-09 regular-season opener with Elon winning, 62-59. The Rams’ last win came on Jan. 21, 1984, in the form of a 74-61 final in Winston-Salem.

Looking Ahead
After Friday’s opener, the Phoenix hit the road to play at UNC Wilmington on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Last year, Elon defeated the Seahawks in Alumni Gym, 67-61.

Elon in Season Openers
The Phoenix is 26-17 overall in season openers and 18-4 when opening the season in Alumni Gym. Elon last opened the regular season at home on Nov. 12, 2011, when it defeated Virginia Union, 70-46. The maroon and gold has won its last four season openers that were played in Alumni Gym, including a win over Winston-Salem State in 2008.

The Returning Three
Elon returns three starters from last year’s team in Kelsey Harris, Sam Coffer and Zora Stephenson. The trio brings 166 combined starts to the 2013-14 squad and made up 20.5 of Elon’s 68 points per game last year.

Preseason Prognostications
The Elon women’s basketball team was predicted to finish fifth in the 2013-14 Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches and Media Poll. Senior Kelsey Harris was one of 10 players named to the preseason all-conference team. This is the second straight year Elon was picked to finish fifth. The team bested that prediction last year by taking third and posting a program best 14-6 league record. Reigning SoCon champion Chattanooga was selected to finish first in both polls.

Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her third season with the Phoenix and owns a 35-28 career record. Smith led Elon to a 19-14 record last season and a program-best 14-6 finish in the Southern Conference, as well as a postseason appearance in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

Fresh Faces
The Phoenix welcomes five new players to the team this year – Essence Baucom, Lauren Brown, Mackenzie Darrah, Jenifer Rhodes and Lenaira Ruffin. Baucom, a transfer from UAB, will remain inactive during the season due to NCAA residence regulations for transfers, but will be an important member of the team on the bench and in practice. The four highly touted freshmen are all expected to make an impact on the court for the maroon and gold.

2013-14 Viewbook
The 2013-14 Elon women’s basketball viewbook is now available online. This book brings an interactive experience to the fans and incorporates full-color graphs, as well as video content. Check it out on elonphoenix.com.

Home-Court Advantage
Alumni Gym proved to be tough place to play for opponents as the Phoenix went 13-3 at home last season, including an 11-game winning streak from Dec. 13, 2012 – March 20, 2013. Elon outscored its opponents 1,068-938 (68-58.6 ppg) on Roberston Court last year. A total of 11 points was all that separated Elon from a perfect home record in 2012-13.

Road to Asheville
The 2014 Southern Conference Basketball Championships return to Asheville, N.C., for the third straight year. The tournament begins on Friday, March 7, and concludes with the women’s and men’s championship games on Monday, March 10. Seeding for the tournament will be finalized on Sunday, March 2, after all regular-season games have been completed.

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