Mercer’s Career High Helps Elon WBB Phoenix Take Down First-Place Drexel 70-58

Posted by Press Release on February 9, 2018 at 11:07 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. ā€“ Elon University women’s basketball took down its second first-place CAA team in Alumni Gym in a span of six days on Friday night, Feb. 9, with a 70-58 wire-to-wire victory over Drexel.

BOX SCORE

“I was really pleased with our rebounding numbers,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We are a great defensive team and we did a great job of boxing out. Holding them to three offensive rebounds is incredible. When we lock in, we’re really good defensively and I’m just really happy we came out with the win and continue to defend our turf.”

The Phoenix has now won four in a row since falling last at Drexel on Jan. 26 by two points and has won six of the last seven, as it now stands 16-7 overall and 8-4 in league action. The Dragons had their eight-game winning streak snapped with the loss and are now 18-6 overall with a 10-2 mark in CAA play.

THE RUNDOWN
Up by five with 3:01 to play in the third quarter, Elon used a 9-0 run in the final 181 seconds of the frame to turn a five-point, 35-30 lead into a 14-point, 44-30 advantage. Three Jada Graves free throw, two Malaya Johnson free throws and a layup and a Shay Burnett bucket helped power the Phoenix run that gave Elon its biggest lead to that point in the game.

Meme Garner then opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer to extend Elon’s lead to 17, but Drexel fought its way back in with an 8-0 run on a pair of three-pointers to force an Elon timeout. Out of the break, the Phoenix answered with an 8-0 run of its own behind three-pointers from Lexi Mercer and Garner to go back up 17 at 55-38 with 6:08 to go.

Down but not out, Drexel again tried to claw its way back in, but never got any closer than 11 in the final 75 seconds after a Megan Marecic three-pointer. During the fourth, the Phoenix built its lead to as many as 18 after a 6-1 run that was capped by a pair of Garner free throws.

HIGHLIGHTS
Mercer finished with a career-high 14 points on 5-of-8 from the floor. The sophomore went 3-of-5 from long range to match her career high for three-pointers. Johnson finished with her third double-double of the year and ninth of her career with 13 points and 10 rebounds. But it was Graves who finished with a game-high 15 points on 5-of-8 from the floor to go with 2-for-2 from three-point land and three free throws. The sophomore also pulled down six rebounds and had two assists. Burnett approached triple-double territory again with eight points, 10 rebounds and seven assists while battling foul trouble throughout.

Drexel’s Aubree Brown led the Dragons with 14 points. Ana Ferariu also finished in double figures with 10 points and a team-high six rebounds. Kelsi Lidge posted eight points on 4-of-9 shooting and Bailey Greenberg had six points on 1-of-10 from the floor. Entering the day, Greenberg averaged a team-best 11.5 points per outing.

NOTES
-Elon set the tone early by allowing Drexel to shoot just 16.7 percent in the first quarter on 2-of-12 from the floor. Three of Elon’s top five defensive quarters of the season have come in the last three games after it held Charleston to 15.4 percent in the second quarter on Feb. 2 and James Madison to 15.4 percent in the fourth quarter on Feb. 4.
-Friday’s game broke a streak of 13 games in which Drexel had not allowed more than 58 points. The 70 is the third-highest total by a Dragon opponent this season and is the most since Dec. 9 when No. 24 Syracuse put up 72.
-Elon pounded Drexel on the glass with a 47-28 rebounding advantage. Drexel only had three offensive rebounds and three second-chance points. It’s first offensive board came with 2:34 left in the third quarter.
-Elon has now won 15 in a row in Alumni Gym, which extends its Division I record for most consecutive home wins. The streak goes back more than a year now to Feb. 3, 2017, when Elon beat Towson 83-55.
-Elon finished the night with 14 assists on 21 made buckets.
-The Phoenix had a significant advantage at the free throw line, hitting 21-of-30 while Drexel made 12-of-17.

UP NEXT
Elon will welcome College of Charleston to Alumni Gym to close a three-game homestand on Sunday, Feb. 11. The game is Elon’s annual Play4Kay Game, which honors the late Hall of Famer Kay Yow, Elon’s first women’s basketball coach back in the 1970s. All fans wearing pink will receive free admission to Sunday’s game.


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