Elon WBB Closes Out 2014 Against Bears Wednesday

Posted by Press Release on December 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team (6-4) looks to close the books on the 2014 portion of its season Wednesday, Jan. 31, with a win over visiting Lenoir-Rhyne (3-6) on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve. Tip is set for 2 p.m. in Alumni Gym. Tickets can be purchased through the Elon Ticket Office. Admission is $10 for courtside seats, $5 for reserved seats and $3 for youth (12 and under).

Last Time Out
The Phoenix battled back from a nine-point deficit to take an 81-71 win over former Southern Conference foe Furman on Monday. Elon had six players finish in double figures, including all five starters. Rookie Shay Burnett scored a career-high 18 points off another career-high six field goals and went a perfect 5-for-5 from the line. Jenifer Rhodes posted a season-high 15 points off seven field goals, while Malaya Johnson recorded the first double-double of her career with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with three blocks. Essence Baucom scored a career-high 13 points, while Zora Stephenson and Sam Coffer each finished with 10 points. Elon shot 48 percent from the field, including 46 percent from three, while scoring 46 points in the paint, posting seven blocks and only turning the ball over a season-low nine times.

Scouting the Bears
Lenoir-Rhyne is 3-6 on the season after losing its last two games. However, both those losses have come by only a combined eight points. The Bears last win came on Dec. 7 against Brevard, 58-50, on its home court. LR is led by seniors Jazmine Charles and Jenni Gust, who both average in double figures, while Brooke Robinson and Morgan Cooper score over nine points per game. Charles is the team’s leading scorer with 16.4 points/game, while Gust averages 12.6 points/game. Robinson is also the team’s top rebounder with 9.7 boards per game and close to averaging a double-double on the season.

The Series
Elon and Lenoir-Rhyne have a long history of playing one another in women’s basketball but have not meet in 14 years since 1997. The Phoenix leads the series 22-10 and has won 12 of the last 13 meetings. The last game the teams played ended in an 83-40 win for the Phoenix on Feb. 11, 1997.

Elon vs. Division II
The Bears are the second Division II opponent the Phoenix plays this season. Elon opened the year against another South Atlantic Conference (SAC) team in Anderson. The Phoenix won the game over the Trojans, 77-72. Elon also defeated SAC member Catawba, 92-49, in an exhibition game in November.

Common Opponent
Both the Phoenix and the Bears have a common opponent in Anderson so far this season. Elon opened the season against the Trojans, winning 77-72, while LR fell at Anderson, 62-48, in South Carolina.

Block Party
Elon posted a season-high 11 blocks in its game at NC State on Dec. 7. That mark tied a team-high mark under head coach Charlotte Smith. The only other time the Phoenix has recorded 11 blocks in a game in the last four years was at Georgia Southern on Jan. 13, 2014. Elon currently ranks first in the conference and 46th nationally with 5.0 blocked shots/game. Sam Coffer is third in the league in blocks with 1.6 per game, while Malaya Johnson (1.0) ranks ninth.

On the Defensive
The Phoenix defense has played strong so far this season and ranks in the top of several CAA defensive categories. Elon is first in blocked shots (5.0/game), fifth in field goal defense (38.8 percent), first in three-point field goal defense (28.4 percent) and fourth in defensive rebounds (26.9/game).

The Century Mark
On Dec. 21, Sam Coffer played her 100th game in a Phoenix uniform and has now earned the start in 95 games. Teammate Zora Stephenson is closing in on the same milestone with 97 games played since her freshman season.

Beyond the Arc
The Phoenix is shooting 35 percent from the three-point line and is third in the league in the long-distance shooting category. The team is first in three-point defense with opponents only shooting 28.4 percent from beyond the arc. Three Elon players currently rank in the top 15 in the conference in three-point field goal percentage. Lauren Brown ranks second (48 percent), Zora Stephenson is eighth (37 percent) and Sam Coffer is 12th (33 percent).

From the Field
Elon is first in the CAA in field-goal percentage and fifth in field-goal percentage defense. The Phoenix owns a 42.4 shooting percentage 10 games into the season, while holding opponents to 39 percent. Malaya Johnson is second in the league with her 53.8 shooting percentage, while Shay Burnett (52 percent) and Jenifer Rhodes (51 percent) rank fifth and sixth, respectively.

Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her fourth season with the Phoenix and owns a 56-48 career record. Smith led Elon to its second straight Southern Conference Tournament semifinal appearance and a 10-8 overall conference record last season.

Looking Ahead
Elon plays its first CAA game in the team’s next outing when the Phoenix travels to Delaware to take on the Blue Hens on Sunday, Jan. 4. Tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Newark, Del.

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