ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team (14-10, 7-6) looks to get back in the win column when it travels to Boston to take on Northeastern (4-19, 1-12) on Thursday, Feb. 19, in a 7 p.m. tip in the Cabot Center.
Last Time Out
The Phoenix dropped a heartbreaker in its last game, falling to visiting Hofstra, 55-53, in the final minute. Elon led by one, 53-52, with 36 second remaining before the Pride moved ahead and left only 4.2 seconds on the clock for the maroon and gold. The Phoenix moved the ball all the way down the court but was not able to get the shot up in time. Shay Burnett scored a team-high 11 points and had three assists and three steals. Zora Stephenson finished with 10 points, while Sam Coffer led the team on the boards with eight rebounds and had seven points.
Scouting the Huskies
Northeastern is coming off an 84-78 loss at UNCW last Sunday and only has one conference win on the season. However, the Huskies have only lost each of its last four games by less than 10 points. NU is shooting 39 percent from the field on the season, 32.6 percent from beyond the arc and is second in the CAA with 6.3 three-point field goals per game. The team also ranks fourth in the league in free throw percentage with a 69.2 percent mark. Samantha DeFreese, A’lece Mark and Tiffany Montagne all average in double figures for the Huskies with DeFreese leading the way with 13.8 points per game and a 51.0 field goal percentage.
Thursday’s game marks only the second meeting between the Phoenix and the Huskies and the first on NU’s home court. The teams played once prior this season on Jan. 25 in a thrilling game that went into overtime in Alumni Gym. Elon walked away with the 80-77 win that saw 21 points from Shay Burnett and a game-high 26 points from the Huskies’ Samantha DeFreese.
Seniors Zora Stephenson and Sam Coffer are both moving up the list in Elon’s record book. Stephenson has made 213 three-pointers in her career and is currently third in the record book in that category, just 21 triples from tying second. Her 67 baskets from three this season already ranks ninth on Elon’s single season record list. Coffer currently ranks fourth on the all-time blocked shots record list with 117 career blocks.
The Phoenix women’s basketball team is nearing a program marker of 600 wins. Elon currently has 597 overall wins since it began competition in 1971.
Spark of the Bench
The extra spark that Elon has had off the bench has been a tremendous asset so far this season. The Phoenix is out scoring its opponents, 495-394, in bench points. Sophomores Lauren Brown and Jenifer Rhodes have been a big part of the team’s depth with the two players averaging 8.3 and 8.1 points per game, respectively.
Elon currently ranks second in the conference and 48th nationally with 4.7 blocked shots/game, while Malaya Johnson (1.3) ranks fourth and Sam Coffer (1.0) ranks ninth in the league in blocks. 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.
On the Defensive
The Phoenix defense has played strong so far this season and ranks high in several CAA defensive categories. Elon is second in blocked shots (4.7/game), fifth in field goal defense (38.9 percent), third in three-point field goal defense (30 percent) and fourth in steals (7.8/game).
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 24 games into the season, while holding opponents to 38.9 percent. Malaya Johnson is second in the league with her 55.4 shooting percentage, while Jenifer Rhodes (46.5 percent) rank ninth.
Beyond the Arc
The Phoenix is shooting 34.7 percent from the three-point line and is third in the league in the long-distance shooting category. The team is third in three-point defense with opponents only shooting 30 percent from beyond the arc. Two Elon players currently rank in the top 10 in the conference in three-point field goal percentage. Lauren Brown (39.4 percent) ranks fourth and Zora Stephenson (37.9 percent) ranks sixth. Stephenson also ranks 25th nationally with 2.79 three-point field goals per game.
Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her fourth season with the Phoenix and owns a 64-54 career record. Smith led Elon to its second straight Southern Conference Tournament semifinal appearance and a 10-8 overall conference record last season.
Elon returns home to host William & Mary in its next game on Sunday, Feb. 22. Tip against the Tribe is set for 2 p.m. in Alumni Gym.