Elon Women’s Basketball Travels to West Virginia to Close Out 2015

Posted by Press Release on December 27, 2015 at 8:28 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team is back action following the holiday break and closes out the 2015 and non-conference portion of its schedule with a game at West Virginia on Monday, Dec. 28, in a 7 p.m. tip in Morgantown, W.Va.

Last Time Out
The Elon women’s basketball team hung tight with No. 2 South Carolina for 30 minutes of play in its game against the Gamecocks on Dec. 22 but was not able to pull off the upset, falling 78-63. The Phoenix led by as much as seven in the first half and trailed by just seven with nine minutes left in the game before the Gamecocks closed out the game on a 22-14 run to secure the win. Jenifer Rhodes led all players with 19 points, just one shy of her career high, after eight field goals and a 3-of-5 mark from the line. The junior, who played in front of a home-state crowd, also hauled down four rebounds. Shay Burnett followed with 15 points, a team-high seven boards and handed out eight assists.

Scouting the Mountaineers
After starting the season 2-2, West Virginia is on a current eight-game winning streak that dates to Nov. 24, while the team is also a perfect 5-0 at home this season. The Mountaineers last two games were played as a part of the Florida Sunshine Classic in Winter Park, Fla., where they claimed victories over both James Madison, 69-62, and Indiana, 75-64. WVU currently ranks ninth in the nation in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to a 33 percent clip. The team also ranks 12th in blocked shots with 67 on the season thanks to Lanay Montgomery who is fourth nationally in blocked shots (37) and seventh in blocks per game (3.08/game). WVU is led in scoring by Bria Holmes who averages 17.4 points per game and owns a 54.7 field-goal percentage. Teana Muldrow comes off the bench to average 11.6 points, while Montgomery falls just short of averaging a double-double with 9.9 points and a team-high 9.3 boards a game.

The Series
Monday marks the fourth all-time meeting between Elon and West Virginia with the Mountaineers taking the win in all three previous contests. The two teams met two years ago in Morgantown, W.Va., with WVU topping the Phoenix, 89-56. All three previous games have been played on the Mountaineers home court.

Elon vs. the Big 12
The Phoenix is 0-3 all-time against Big 12 teams as West Virginia is the only member of the Big 12 Conference that Elon has played in program history.

Short Break
With five days in-between games, the Elon women’s basketball team has the shortest holiday break of any team in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Hot Start
At 7-3 after ten games into the season, Elon is off to its best start since the 1996-97 season and its best in the Division I era.

Block Party
Elon’s 17 total team blocks on Nov. 29 against East Tennessee State marked a new Division I single-game high this season and also set a new CAA single-game record. The Phoenix saw five players set new or match career highs in blocks against the Buccaners in Malaya Johnson (5), Autumn Carter (4), Essence Baucom (2), Lauren Brown (2) and Maddie McCallie (1). Elon is currently averaging 5.6 blocks per game as a team, which ranks 23rd nationally and first in the league.

On the Boards
Elon currently ranks second in the conference in rebounds per game (41.4/game). The Phoenix holds a positive 3.4 advantage in the rebounding margin, which is third in the CAA, is second in the league in defensive rebounds (27.1/game) and is third in offensive rebounds (14.3/game).

Off the Bench
The Elon bench has been a contributor to the maroon and gold’s success this season. The Phoenix bench is outscoring the opponents, 202-156, and averaging 20.2 points per game.

Stop, Thief!
The Elon defense tallied an impressive 14 steals in its win over Lenoir-Rhyne on Nov. 14 and another 10 at Liberty on Nov. 16. The Phoenix is averaging 8.4 steals per game, while opponents are managing 7.4.

Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her fifth season with the Phoenix and owns a 76-60 career record. Smith has led Elon to three straight conference tournament semifinal appearances, as well as an at-large bid to the 2015 WNIT, the first in program history, after a 19-13 overall record and 11-7 league mark in its first season in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Home-Court Advantage
Alumni Gym has proven to be a tough place to play for opponents under head coach Charlotte Smith. The maroon and gold is 47-15 in Alumni Gym in five seasons under Coach Smith. The Phoenix went 10-5 at home during the 2014-15 season after a 10-4 record during the 2013-14 season. The Phoenix has lost no more than five games at home in a season and out scored its opponents 1,001-963 on Robertson Court last year.

Next Up
Elon begins 2016 and its second year of Colonial Athletic Association play beginning on Sunday, Jan. 3, at UNCW. The Phoenix and the Seahawks are set to tip off at 2 p.m. in Trask Coliseum in Wilmington, N.C.

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