CHARLESTON, S.C. – It came down to the final 30 seconds but the Elon women’s basketball team was able to secure a 75-71 victory at College of Charleston today, Feb. 8, in TD Arena.
In front of her hometown crowd, Charleston native Jenifer Rhodes posted a new career-high 21 points and hauled down eight rebounds. Sam Coffer finished with a season-high 19 points and her second double-double of the season with a team-high 11 boards. Lauren Brown also finished in double figures with 14 points, while Shay Burnett handed out a career-high eight assists.
“I’m still waiting for my blood pressure to come down,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “You can’t underestimate any team in this league. Any given day, anybody can beat anybody. We talked about the importance of every game from this point forward so that we can position ourselves for the tournament. It’s always good to get road wins and now we get to go back home. I’m excited to be back home in Alumni Gym and play in front of our fans.”
Elon (14-8, 7-4) finished 26-of-62 from the field for a 42 percent mark, including 10-of-27 from long distance for 37 percent. The Phoenix converted 13-of-22 chances from the charity stripe (59 percent) and held the edge on the glass, 42-34.
CofC (4-18, 2-9) hit 47 percent from the field after going 27-of-58 and had eight makes from beyond the arc (53 percent). The Cougars were led by 21 points from Breanna Bolden and another 20 points from Erin Hall.
After Elon opened the game with a 7-2 advantage, the Cougars used a 17-5 run to claim a seven-point lead, 19-12, at the 12:10 mark. Two threes by Coffer and an old-fashioned three-point play by Burnett evened Elon with CofC, 23-all, with 8:48 remaining before a Brown triple regained the lead for the Phoenix, 26-25.
The remainder of the opening half stayed close with neither team taking more than a three-point edge until the Cougars moved ahead, 39-34, with 50 seconds left. A jumper by Brown made it a three-point game, 39-36, with 33 ticks remaining before just missing a half-court shot at the buzzer to even the score at the half.
Elon shot 50 percent in the first half with a 42 percent mark from three, while CofC went 52 percent from the field, including an impressive 75 percent (6-of-8) from beyond the arc and held the advantage on the boards, 16-13. The first frame saw eight lead changes and three ties.
The Phoenix opened the second half on a 10-2 run, beginning with a Zora Stephenson three and a steal turned fast-break layup by Rhodes to move ahead 46-41. After the Cougars pulled within one, 46-45, the maroon and gold used a 17-7 advantage to take an 11-point lead, 63-52, after a Rhodes layup at the 10:13 mark. CofC answered with the next 11 points to pull even, 63-all, for the sixth time of the game with 6:56 remaining.
The teams traded several threes with the Cougars moving ahead 69-67 with 4:34 left to play. A short jumper by Stephenson off a pass from Rhodes evened the game once again with less than three minutes to go. With CofC leading, 71-70, Coffer grabbed an offensive board and made a layup for the go-ahead score, 72-71, with 36 seconds remaining. After the Cougars missed their next opportunity but grabbed the offensive rebound, CofC’s Christy Hewatt turned the ball over with 15 ticks left and was forced to foul. Essence Baucom was sent to the line and hit both before Rhodes made her second to make it a 75-71 advantage and close out the game.
Elon returns home to Alumni Gym after almost a three-week absence to host UNCW in its next game on Thursday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m.