Elon WBB Suffers First Loss at High Point

Posted by Press Release on November 30, 2014 at 8:44 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point was able to hold the Elon women’s basketball team to only two field goals in the final five minutes as the Phoenix (4-1) suffered its first loss of the season in an 87-71 setback against the Panthers (3-3) today, Nov. 30, in the Millis Center.

The Panthers closed out the game on a 15-3 run and put three players in double figures, including Kaylah Keys who led all players with 30 points. High Point held Elon to a season-low field goal percentage of 35 percent after a 24-of-68 mark, including 35 percent (7-of-20) from beyond the arc. The Panthers went 28-of-63 from the field to shoot 44 percent and hit nine threes for a 47 percent mark from long distance. The Phoenix struggled from the charity stripe, going 16-of-27 (59 percent), while HPU finished 22-of-26 (85 percent). Elon won the rebounding battle, 47-40, with 17 offensive rebounds and scored 23 second-chance points.

“I feel like we didn’t buckle in mentally to get defensive stops today,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We knew exactly what they were doing in terms of their offensive sets but we just weren’t there mentally. Unfortunately, we didn’t shoot the ball well from three or the free throw line. We’ll regroup and refocus to get ready for the next game.”

Shay Burnett tallied the first double-double of her career with a career-high 15 points and another career-high 10 rebounds. Lenaira Ruffin finished with a career-high 14 points that included two of Elon’s seven baskets from three-point range. Malaya Johnson and Essence Baucom both hauled down a career-high eight rebounds.

After a jumper by Zora Stephenson put the Phoenix up 9-8 in the first half with 16:09 on the clock, the Panthers managed to hold Elon without a field goal for over two minutes until Mackenzie Darrah hit a three to even the score at 14-all. The basket from Darrah sparked an 11-2 run for the Phoenix, capped by a Stephenson three, to give the maroon and gold a six-point edge, 22-16, with just over 10 minutes left in the half.

HPU answered and scored eight straight to even the score for the fourth time at 22-all before a layup by Autumn Carter stopped the Panther run with 7:52 on the clock. After a missed free throw by Ruffin, Johnson grabbed the offensive board and quickly passed the ball off to Sam Coffer who scored on a layup to give Elon its largest lead of the half, 30-22, and force an HPU timeout with 6:07 remaining.

The Panthers responded once again, taking a 31-30 lead with under four minutes left in the half. With the score tied at 33-all, a Shannen Cochraham jumper began six straight for the maroon and gold and was capped with a Burnett three with just over a minute remaining to give Elon a 39-33 lead at the break.

The Phoenix shot 39 percent in the first frame, including a 45 percent mark from long distance, and held the advantage on the boards, 26-22. HPU shot 35 percent (33 percent from three), while the lead changed a total of seven times.

Elon maintained its six-point advantage into the first three and a half minutes of the second half with the help of baskets by Johnson and Burnett. The Panthers claimed its first lead, 47-46, since the 3:41 mark in the first with 14:42 on the clock. An 8-3 run that included threes by Coffer and Ruffin gave the Phoenix a 54-50 edge with under 13 minutes remaining.

HPU responded to go up by eight, 70-62, with 6:28 on the clock before the Phoenix pulled within four to cut the deficit to four, 70-66. Elon remained within four, 72-68, after a layup by Johnson at the 4:57 mark but the Panthers began to pull away and held the maroon and gold to only three more points the remainder of the game.

Elon remains on the road for its next contest to take on Atlantic Coast Conference opponent NC State for the third straight year. Tip against the Wolfpack is set for 2 p.m. in Raleigh, N.C., in Reynolds Coliseum.

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