Elon WBB Phoenix Heads to Philly to Face Dragons

Posted by Press Release on February 26, 2015 at 8:32 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – After two wins last week, the Elon women’s basketball team (16-10, 9-6) sets out on its last road trip of the regular season, beginning with a matchup at Drexel (17-9, 11-4) on Friday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. in Philadelphia in the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

Last Time Out
After trailing for nearly the entire game against William & Mary on Sunday, Elon took the lead from the Tribe with 54 seconds remaining. A Sam Coffer three put the Phoenix up by four as free throws by Lauren Brown helped the maroon and gold hold on to win, 64-60. Coffer finished a perfect 6-for-6 on the day with a 3-for-3 mark from deep for a team-high 16 points, including seven rebounds and two blocks. Shay Burnett posted her second double-double of the season and her career with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with five assists and two steals. Jenifer Rhodes also finished in double figures with 11 points and hauled down eight rebounds.

Scouting the Dragons
Drexel currently sits second in the league with an 11-4 conference record on the season. The Dragons are currently on a three game winning streak after a 67-64 victory at Delaware on Sunday and return home on Friday for the first time since Feb. 8. The team leads the nation in free-throw percentage with a 78 percent mark from the line and also leads the league in scoring defense. The Dragons own a positive 3.62 turnover margin and a 1.1 assist/turnover ratio. Sarah Curran is the team’s scoring leader, averaging 12 points per game, followed by Rachel Pearson with 11.3 points/game.

The Series
The only other meeting between Drexel and Elon happened earlier this season in Alumni Gym on Jan. 6. The Dragons took the 1-0 advantage in the young series after a 57-47 victory. Friday marks Elon’s first visit to the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

Three Times a Weekly Award Winner
For the third time this season, Shay Burnett was named the CAA Rookie of the Week on Feb. 23. Burnett earned co-rookie accolades after 11.5 points and 6.0 rebounds the previous week, helping the team to two wins. The rookie finished 8-for-15 from the field to shoot 53.3 percent, including one three (33.3 percent), and went 6-of-11 from the charity stripe for a 54.5 percent mark. At Northeastern, Burnett went 4-of-7 and 2-of-3 from the free-throw line to finish with 10 points and two assists. She posted her second double-double of the season and her career with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in the team’s win over William & Mary, while also recording five assists and two steals. Her 10 boards in the game helped Elon to a season-high 50 rebounds. The Graham, N.C., native also finished with seven assists and two steals on the week.

Down to the Wire
The last five games for the Phoenix have all come down to the wire with the final point differential no more than four points in each game. Elon claimed wins over CofC and William & Mary by four points and another victory at Northeastern by one, while falling to UNCW by four and Hofstra by two.

Record Watch
Seniors Zora Stephenson and Sam Coffer are both moving up the list in Elon’s record book. Stephenson has made 217 three-pointers in her career and is currently third in the record book in that category, just 17 triples from tying second. Her 71 baskets from three this season already ranks seventh on Elon’s single season record list. Coffer currently ranks fourth on the all-time blocked shots record list with 122 career blocks.

Program Milestone
The Phoenix women’s basketball team is nearing a program marker of 600 wins. Elon currently has 599 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, 554-435, in bench points. Sophomores Lauren Brown and Jenifer Rhodes have been a big part of the team’s depth with the two players averaging 8.4 and 8.2 points per game, respectively.

Block Party
Elon currently ranks first in the conference and 45th nationally with 4.8 blocked shots/game, while Malaya Johnson (1.3) ranks fifth and Sam Coffer (1.1) ranks eighth 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
On the defensive side of the ball, Elon is first in the league in blocked shots (4.8/game), fifth in field goal defense (39.3 percent), sixth in three-point field goal defense (31.0 percent) and fifth in steals (7.7/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 42.6 shooting percentage 26 games into the season, while holding opponents to 39.3 percent. Malaya Johnson is first in the league with her 54.5 shooting percentage, while Jenifer Rhodes (46.8 percent) and Shay Burnett (46.7 percent) rank ninth and 10th, respectively.

Beyond the Arc
The Phoenix is shooting 35.2 percent from the three-point line and is third in the league in the long-distance shooting category. The team is sixth in three-point defense with opponents only shooting 31.0 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 second and Zora Stephenson (37.2 percent) ranks seventh. Stephenson also ranks 25th nationally with 2.80 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 66-54 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 final regular-season road game on Sunday, March 1, when the Phoenix visits Hempstead, N.Y., to take on Hofstra at 1 p.m.

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