CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team took the lead under three minutes into the game and never trailed again en route to a 13-point victory, 67-54, at Charlotte tonight, Nov. 21, in Halton Arena. The Phoenix improves to 3-0 on the season, while the 49ers fall to 1-2.
“I’m super excited about this win,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We talked about how we had the lead and not to let it go or give them momentum. I think we did a great job of staying focused and poised and we finished it out with a win.”
Led by 18 points from Zora Stephenson, the Phoenix went 23-of-53 from the field to shoot 43 percent, including a 10-of-25 mark from beyond the arc (40 percent). Charlotte finished 32 percent from the field (21-of-66) and was held to only one three on the night for a seven percent clip. From the line, Elon shot 79 percent, while Charlotte finished with a 69 percent mark. The 49ers claimed the rebounding battle, 41-37.
Stephenson went 5-of-10 on the night with four threes to lead all players with her 18 points. Coffer tallied her first double-double of the season with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. The senior started off the game a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from three-point range. Shannen Cochraham finished with eight points after a 4-of-5 night from the field, while Essence Baucom dished out a season-high nine assists.
The Phoenix held Charlotte’s Hillary Sigmon, who entered the game averaging 27 points per game, to a scoreless night. The 49ers were led by 17 points from Lefty Webster.
With Charlotte leading 7-5 early, a three by Lauren Brown followed by back-to-back layups by Jenifer Rhodes put the Phoenix up, 12-7, and forced a 49er timeout with 14:50 on the clock. Coffer hit her second three of the game to cap a 10-0 Elon run that spanned just under three minutes and put the Phoenix ahead by eight, 15-7.
After the 49ers pulled within two, 15-13, the maroon and gold responded with eight straight, including a three from the corner by Stephenson to put the Phoenix up by double digits, 23-13, and force Charlotte to call its second timeout of the half with 9:36 remaining in the half.
Charlotte would close the gap to two once again, 25-23, with 4:50 to play before layups by Malaya Johnson and Baucom helped move the Phoenix to a 30-23 advantage with under four on the clock. The 49ers’ Webster hit a jumper with 53 ticks remaining to cut the Elon advantage to five, 34-29, at the break.
The Phoenix shot 52 percent from the field in the first frame, including 38 percent from three, while holding Charlotte to 32 percent with an 0-for-8 mark from long distance. The 49ers held the advantage on the boards, 24-14.
Coffer hit her fourth three of the game 18 seconds into the second half, helping Elon to an 8-2 run to start the frame. A jumper by Stephenson capped the opening run and gave Elon an 11-point lead, 42-31.
The 49ers were held without a field goal until an Olivia Rankin layup 12:37 into the half, which helped Charlotte close the gap to five, 42-37. The Phoenix quickly answered with a three by Brown to move the advantage back to seven with just over 10 minutes to play.
After Stephenson’s second three of the game made it a 49-41 game with 8:34 on the clock, the 49ers slowly started to chip away at the Phoenix advantage. A layup by Charlotte’s Alexis Alexander with 3:42 remaining made it a one-point game, 55-54. With two seconds on the shot clock and 1:55 left in the game, Stephenson hit the first of back-to-back threes in a 20-second span to move Elon back up by seven, 61-54. The 49ers were forced to foul and finished 0-5 in its last five trips to the basket, while Elon converted all six of its trips to the line in the final 63 seconds to finish out the victory.
Elon returns home to Alumni Gym to host Liberty on Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m.