ELON, N.C. – With three games left in the regular season, the Elon University women’s basketball team starts its final road trip on Friday night, Feb. 24, against Delaware in Newark inside the Bob Carpenter Center.
The Phoenix owns a 5-1 mark against Delaware all-time. Each of Elon’s last two wins over Delaware have come by large margins with the Phoenix topping the Blue Hens by 17 on Feb. 26, 2016 (62-45), and by 27 (69-42) back on Jan. 8 earlier this season. Delaware’s only win came in last year’s CAA Tournament, 57-50.
The Blue Hens sit fourth in the CAA with an 8-7 record to go with a 14-12 overall mark. Nicole Enabosi leads UD with 13.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game while Erika Brown also averages double figures at 11.7 points per contest. Though in fourth place in the CAA, Delaware has dropped four of its last five games, falling last time out in overtime at Drexel, 53-49.
On Senior Day, Elon picked up a convincing 70-47 victory over William & Mary to earn a 10th win inside Alumni Gym for the seventh season in a row. With all five seniors starting, Elon used a 14-2 run in the first quarter to take a big 16-5 lead to the second quarter after the Tribe shot just 8.3 percent in the opening frame. Struggling again in the second quarter, Elon took a 20-point lead to halftime at 33-13. W&M’s 13 first-half points marked the second-fewest Elon has allowed in a half this season, trailing only the 11 first-half points Hofstra scored back on Jan. 29. Four Phoenix scored in double figure with Jenifer Rhodes and Shay Burnett leading the way with 11 points. Malaya Johnson also notched a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds and Lenaira Ruffin pulled down a career-best 12 boards.
With three players – Lauren Brown, Shay Burnett and Jenifer Rhodes – reaching the 1,000-career point mark this season, it marks the first time in program history a trio of teammates have reached the milestone in the same season. Before this year, two players reaching 1,000 points in the same season had been done twice by Venessa Corbett and Lou Williamson in 1979-80 and Elizabeth Ward and Laura Case in 1992-93.
Elon checked in at No. 26 in the NCAA RPI Thursday, the top mid-major on the list one spot ahead of Harvard (No. 27). It also ranks No. 5 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll and received one first-place vote with Drake. Elon is No. 8 in the espnW Mid-Major poll for the second week in a row.
Elon, JMU and Drexel are all guaranteed a top-three seed in the CAA Tournament. For Elon to clinch the top seed, JMU would need to lose once in the remaining three games even if Elon were to win out.
With 21 victories this season, it marks just the second time Elon has reached the 20-win mark as a Division I program and is the first time Elon has reached the accomplishment in regular-season play. Last time Elon reached 20 wins in 2010-11, the Phoenix finished 20-13 and recorded its 20th win in the 32nd game of the season in the WBI against USC Upstate.
Elon’s nine-game winning streak from Dec. 17 against ETSU to Jan. 15 against Drexel was the most the team has won in a row as a Division I program. The last time Elon had won that many in a row came during a 12-game winning streak in 1981-82 under coach Mary Jackson. Elon’s only losses in the last 19 games have come against James Madison on Jan. 20 and Feb. 12 by six and seven points, respectively.
ON THE ROAD
Elon has been stellar away from Alumni Gym this season. To date, the Phoenix is 11-4 away from home, including neutral games. Prior to the loss at JMU on Feb. 12, Elon had won each of its previous nine road games. The nine-game road winning streak marked the longest streak for the program as a Division I team. The previous long was five games from Jan. 8 to Jan. 29 in 2010-11, the final season of the Karen Barefoot era.
MAKING IT LOOK EASY
At the halfway point of the CAA season, Elon’s .889 winning percentage was the best mark for the Phoenix in the program’s 18-year run as a Division I program. The previous best mark came when Elon started the 2001-02 Big South season with a .857 winning percentage, a record of 6-1.
Elon’s wins Jan. 8 over Delaware, Jan. 13 at Charleston and Feb. 3 over Towson mark the three largest in conference play as a member of the CAA. The 84-56 (+28) victory at Charleston and the 83-55 (+28) win over Towson are the largest in two-plus CAA seasons. The 69-42 (+27) home win over Delaware was the previous biggest CAA win for the program before it was topped days later at Charleston. Before that, Elon’s biggest CAA win was 22 points last season over Towson and UNCW.
Elon will play its final regular season road game of the year with a 2 p.m. tip at Towson. Last time Elon met Towson on Feb. 10 inside Alumni Gym, the Phoenix dropped the Tigers 83-55, tying for Elon’s biggest CAA win in program history.