ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team (4-1) returns after a week abscence for a game at NC State (5-3) on Sunday, Dec. 7, in Raleigh, N.C. Tip against the Wolfpack is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Reynolds Coliseum.
Last Time Out
Elon suffered its first setback of the season in an 87-71 loss to High Point on Sunday. The Phoenix led the Panthers, 39-33, at halftime before HPU outscored the maroon and gold by 22 in the second half. Elon saw rookie Shay Burnett record the first double-double of her career with 15 points and 10 rebounds, both career highs, while Lenaira Ruffin also scored a career-high 14 points. The Phoenix led the advantage on the boards, 47-40, with the help of 17 offensive rebounds and scored 23 second-chance points.
Scouting the Wolfpack
NC State is 5-3 on the season and is coming off its third loss in its last four games and its first of the season at home. The Wolfpack fell to Minnesota, 60-55, on Wednesday in Reynolds Coliseum as part of the ACC/B1G Challenge. State is shooting 40 percent from the field on the season, including 32 percent from long distance, while ranking third nationally and leading the ACC in free-throw percentage with an 80 percent mark. The Wolfpack is second in the conference in defending the three, holding opponents to a 24 percent clip. Dominique Wilson and Miah Spencer are the team’s leading scorers with averages of 14.9 and 13.8 points per game, respectively.
The Phoenix and the Wolfpack have met seven times on the hardwood since 1972. NC State has won all seven of the games, including a 91-51 victory in the last meeting a year ago.
Elon and NC State have each played two common opponents so far this season – Charlotte and High Point. The Wolfpack won both of its contests with a seven-point victory, 70-63, over Charlotte and a 66-62 win over the Panthers. Elon went 1-1 against those two teams with a 13-point win at Charlotte, 67-54, and its only loss of the season at HPU, 87-71.
Shay Burnett won Elon women’s basketball’s first CAA weekly award when she was named the Rookie of the Week on Dec. 1. The freshman was awarded the honor after averaging 13 points and eight rebounds in two games the last week of November. She went 8-of-16 from the field to shoot 50 percent, including 50 percent from beyond the arc (2-of-4), and went 80 percent from the charity stripe (8-of-10). In Elon’s win over Liberty Nov. 25, Burnett scored a then career-high 11 points after a 4-of-7 mark from the field and hauled down a team-high six rebounds. At High Point on Nov. 30, she posted her first collegiate double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, both career highs. The Graham, N.C., native, who is averaging 10.2 points per game, also added three assists, two steals and a block to the week.
The Kay Connection
The Phoenix and the Wolfpack have one very special person in common. In 1971, Kay Yow became Elon’s first women’s basketball coach and led the Fighting Christians to a 57-19 record over a four-year span. Yow left Elon to take over the NC State program in 1975 and remained the head coach for the Wolfpack until she lost her long battle with breast cancer in 2009.
Sunday’s game will be a homecoming for Elon assistant coach Cristy McKinney. McKinney, formerly Cristy Earnhardt, graduated from NC State in 1979 and played for the former Elon and Wolfpack head coach Kay Yow.
The Century Mark
Sam Coffer is nearing the century mark in career games played. The senior has played in 96 games so far in a Phoenix uniform and has earned the start in 90 of those contests.
From the Field
Elon is second in the CAA in field-goal percentage and first in field-goal percentage defense. The Phoenix owns a 42 shooting percentage five games into the season, while holding opponents to a 35 percent clip. Rookie Malaya Johnson ranks fourth with her 51.7 shooting percentage, while Sam Coffer is currently 10th with a 44 percent mark.
Beyond the Arc
The Phoenix is shooting 36 percent from the three-point line and is third in the league in the long-distance shooting category. The team is second in three-point defense with opponents only shooting 23.9 from beyond the arc. Three Elon players currently rank in the top 12 in the conference in three-point field goal percentage. Lauren Brown ranks second (57.1 percent), Zora Stephenson is 10th (35.9) and Sam Coffer sits in 12th (34.8).
Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her fourth season with the Phoenix and owns a 54-45 career record. Smith led Elon to its second straight Southern Conference Tournament semifinal appearance and a 10-8 overall conference record last season.
The Phoenix has another week in between games before it hosts its first ever Southeastern Conference opponent in Alumni Gym. Elon welcomes Vanderbilt for its next game on Sunday, Dec. 14, for a 2 p.m. tip.