Elon WBB Phoenix Closes Out 2014 with 62-46 Win Over Lenoir-Rhyne

Posted by Press Release on December 31, 2014 at 5:46 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team finished off non-conference play and the 2014 portion of its season with a 62-46 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne today, Dec. 31, in Alumni Gym.

The Phoenix (7-4) claimed its second straight win with another stellar performance from rookie Malaya Johnson who finished 7-of-8 from the field and 4-of-6 from the line with 18 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

Elon finished the game 23-of-54 from the field to shoot 43 percent and hit 17-of-20 shots from the charity stripe for a 70 percent mark. While the Phoenix struggled from long distance (2-of-18), the team scored 42 points in the paint. The defense tallied 10 blocks and forced 19 Bears turnovers.

“I’m very proud of Malaya (Johnson). As a freshman, she’s matured so much and she’s playing with so much poise and efficiency,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “In the game, I felt like the shots weren’t falling in the first half even though we got some clean open looks. At the half, we talked about staying confident and pounding the ball inside. I felt like the defensive intensity was much better in the second half.”

LR (3-6) went 17-of-54 in the game to finish 32 percent from the field, including 24 percent from three, but was not able to convert at the free-throw line with an 8-of-15 mark. The teams finished even on the glass with 38 rebounds each.

Essence Baucom went 5-of-8 on the day for the Phoenix and finished with 10 points, three assists and four steals. Lauren Brown scored nine points in the game, while Autumn Carter contributed three blocks.

With the game tied 14-all with 12:13 to play in the first half, the Phoenix went on an 8-0 run that was capped by a layup by Johnson to lead 22-14. The Bears cut its deficit to three, 26-23, with 2:41 on the clock but Elon quickly responded to go back up by six. A jumper by LR with 52 seconds remaining made it a two-point game, 29-27, before Brown hit a three as time expired to give the maroon and gold a 32-27 lead at the break.

Both teams shot over 45 percent in the opening frame with the Phoenix holding a 46 percent mark and the Bears at 48 percent, while each team had 14 boards. Elon held the advantage at the line after going 7-for-8 to shoot 88 percent and LR went 4-of-9 (44 percent).

In the second half, baskets by Baucom and Johnson started Elon off with the first four points as the Phoenix lead by double figures, 42-31, by the 16:26 mark. Over six minutes later, a layup by Shannen Cochraham was followed by a Zora Stephenson three to extend the lead to 17, 52-35, and force the Bears to call a timeout. The Phoenix never looked back, taking as much as a 20-point advantage to outscore LR 30-19 in the second half.

Elon plays its first Colonial Athletic Association game to start 2015 when the Phoenix travels to Newark, Del., to take on the Blue Hens on Sunday, Jan. 4, at 2 p.m.

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