Elon WBB Phoenix Battles Past Paladins for Victory

Posted by Press Release on December 30, 2014 at 6:45 am under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – With six players in double figures, the Elon women’s basketball team picked up an 81-71 win over former conference foe Furman tonight, Dec. 29, in Alumni Gym. The 81 points by the Phoenix marked the highest-scoring offensive output of the season for the team.

Elon (6-4) finished 30-of-63 from the field to shoot 48 percent with a 5-of-11 mark from beyond the arc (46 percent). The Phoenix only turned the ball over a season-low nine times and scored 46 points in the paint. Elon claimed the advantage on the glass, 45-39, and tallied seven blocks on the night.

“We felt like we had to turn up the defensive intensity and apply a lot of pressure at the point guard position tonight. We wanted to try and take them out of rhythm offensively,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We play well in spurts and we just need to find a way to put it together. Our motto is ‘Fight for 40,’ so if we can put it together for 40 minutes, it could be unbelievable what this team can do.”

Rookie Shay Burnett led the Phoenix players in double figures with a career-high 18 points after a 6-of-11 performance from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 from the charity stripe. Malaya Johnson posted the first double-double of her young career with 13 points and a career-high 11 boards to go with a game-high three blocks. Jenifer Rhodes scored a season-high 15 points, while Essence Baucom finished with a career-high 13 points. Sam Coffer and Zora Stephenson each recorded 10 points with Coffer adding seven boards to her line.

Furman (9-5) shot 40 percent from the field after going 25-of-63 and hit 10 threes for a 42 percent mark from long distance. The Paladins saw 17 points from both Whitney Bunn and Holli Wilkins, while Bunn also finished with a game-high seven assists.

The Paladins led by as much as nine, 14-5, in the first half after a three by Bunn at the 14:16 mark. A jumper by Burnett started a span of six straight for the Phoenix to pull even, 21-all, with 9:24 on the clock.

Furman would move back ahead by five, 31-26, with under four minutes to go in the half before two baskets by Coffer and one by Rhodes put the Phoenix back in the lead since the first two minutes of the game, 32-31. A three-pointer by Stephenson was followed by a Johnson jumper to cap an 11-0 run to close out the half and put the maroon and gold ahead by six, 37-31, at the break.

Elon shot 44 percent in the first half, going 15-of-34 from the field and 3-of-7 from three (43 percent). Furman went 13-of-37 from the field for a 35 percent mark, including 38 percent from long distance, and led on the boards 23-20.

In the second frame, the Paladins cut its deficit to as much as one point, 44-43, with 14:33 to play but a three by Burnett 23 seconds later helped the Phoenix back to a six-point advantage, 50-44. With just under five minutes remaining, Elon took its largest lead of the game by 16 points, 70-54, after a jumper by Rhodes

Furman scored the next six points to close the gap to 10 with two minutes remaining and was forced to foul to try and stay in the game. Elon converted 6-of-9 trips to the line to only let the Paladins within eight with only 25 ticks left before claiming the 10-point victory.

Elon closes out 2014 and non-conference play with a 2 p.m. game on Wednesday, Dec. 31, against Lenoir-Rhyne in Alumni Gym.


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