Elon WBB Phoenix Downs Seahawks, Advances to CAA Semifinals

Posted by Press Release on March 14, 2015 at 12:37 am under College | Comments are off for this article

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – After suffering two defeats at the hands of fifth-seeded UNCW during the regular season, the fourth-seeded Elon women’s basketball team avenged the losses today, March 13, with a 60-48 win over the Seahawks in the quarterfinals of the CAA Women’s Basketball Championship in The Show Place Arena. The win advances the Phoenix to a spot in its conference tournament semifinals for the third straight season.

“First, I’d like to commend UNCW. They’re a great basketball team and this was a great game,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “These are the types of games you always want to see in tournament play. Secondly, I’m really excited and thrilled with the way our team focused on our defensive plan. We wanted to pack it in and force them to take shots. We really made a comment to defense and we were clutch in the end from the free throw line.”

Elon (19-11) was led by a career-high 15 points from junior walk-on Josepha Mbouma who went 4-of-6 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. The Phoenix went 22-of-24 from the free throw line for a season-high 92 percent. Overall, Elon shot 37 percent from the field, going 18-of-49 but only hitting 2-of-11 from long distance.

Rookie Shay Burnett also finished in double figures with 10 points and hauled down a team-high seven rebounds. Sam Coffer tallied eight points and seven rebounds in the game, while Malaya Johnson recorded a career-high five blocks to help the Phoenix to eight team blocks.

UNCW (14-16) finished 18-of-69 on the day to shoot 26 percent and was held to a seven-percent mark from three (1-of-13). The Seahawks claimed a 47-38 edge on the glass and outscored the maroon and gold, 20-5, in second-chance points. Brie Mobley was UNCW’s leading scorer with 15 points followed by 12 points from Shatia Cole. The Phoenix defense held all-conference player Kelva Atkins to eight points and only a 2-of-17 field goal mark.

Two baskets by Mbouma helped the Phoenix to an early 9-4 advantage less than five minutes into the game. The Seahawks managed to hold the maroon and gold scoreless for almost the next six minutes, using a 10-0 run to move ahead 14-9 before a pair of free throws by Johnson broke the scoring drought with 10:11 on the clock.

After a long jumper by Lauren Brown cut the deficit to one, 16-15, a basket by Autumn Carter put the Phoenix back in front, 17-16, with 6:51 left in the half. A three by Mbouma and layup by Rhodes helped Elon to a 5-0 run for a 22-19 edge. Mbouma converted two attempts from the line with under two minutes left in the half to keep the maroon and gold up by three, 24-21, at the break.

Both teams shot under 30 percent and had only one three each in the first frame as Elon held a 28 percent mark and UNCW went 27 percent from the field. The Seahawks held the slight advantage on the boards, 24-23, while Elon went 7-of-8 to shoot 88 percent from the charity stripe.

Elon came out of the break strong with a 6-0 run to take a nine-point lead, 30-21, after a layup by Coffer at the 17:26 mark. A three by Brown with under 13 minutes left put the Phoenix up by double digits, 37-26.

The defense held the Seahawks scoreless for almost six minutes, as the maroon and gold moved ahead by as much as 16, 43-27, with 9:54 to play. UNCW responded with an 11-0 run to cut its deficit to five, 43-38, with under six minutes remaining before four points by Burnett put the Phoenix back up by eight, 47-39.

The Seawhawks did not give up but was only able to pull within six of Elon the remainder of the game. The Phoenix hit all eight of its attempts from the free-throw line in the final 73 seconds to secure the 12-point victory over UNCW.

Elon will face top-seeded James Madison in the conference semifinals at 1 p.m. tomorrow, March 13, in The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md.

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