ELON, N.C. – The Elon University women’s basketball returns to Alumni Gym tomorrow night, Dec. 5, when the Phoenix welcomes the defending Southern Conference champions from Samford on campus for a 7 p.m. tip.
Elon (2-4, 0-1 SoCon) vs. Samford (4-3, 0-1 SoCon)
Site: Elon, N.C.
Arena: Alumni Gym
Series: Samford leads, 5-2
Last Meeting: Samford won, 83-80, on Feb. 19, 2011 at Elon
THE SERIES: Elon and Samford are meeting for the eighth time on Monday. Samford leads the all-time series, 5-2, but the two squads have split the last four meetings. Elon registered a 47-42 win at Samford last season on Jan. 8 before the Bulldogs came away with an 83-80 victory on Feb. 19 in Alumni Gym. The Phoenix’s Pink Zone game versus Samford last year drew a program-record 1,071 fans in Alumni Gym. Elon and Samford meet again on Jan. 28 in Birmingham, Ala.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Samford enters Monday’s game with a 4-3 record, including a 0-1 mark in league action after dropping a 61-53 contest at UNCG on Dec. 3. Paige Anderson has led Samford in scoring in five of the team’s seven games this season. Samford is led by head coach Mike Morris, now in his ninth season with the Bulldogs.
LOOKING AHEAD: Following Monday’s game against Samford, Elon closes out its three-game homestand with a non-conference tilt against Campbell on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.
FORD TRACKER: With 16 points on Saturday against Chattanooga, Ali Ford tied Barbara Johnson for 10th on Elon’s all-time scoring list. Ford, now with 1,172 career points, has hit 192 three-point field goals in her career as well, good for second all-time in program history. Ford has led Elon in scoring in five of its six games this season.
THE SMITH FILE: Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her first year with the Phoenix after spending the previous nine seasons as an assistant coach at North Carolina. Elon’s 70-46 win over Virginia Union on Nov. 12 was Smith’s first career win. Smith was a four-year letterwinner for the Tar Heels from 1992-95 and is one of only two UNC women’s basketball players to have had her jersey retired. Smith was named National Player of the Year by ESPN in 1995 following a career in which she scored 2,094 points (fifth all-time at UNC) and grabbed 1,200 rebounds (second all-time at UNC). She is perhaps best known for her performance in the 1994 NCAA Championship game, when her buzzer-beating three-pointer gave UNC the national crown with a 60-59 win over Louisiana Tech. She also had a championship-record 23 rebounds in the game and was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player.
THE 1,200 CLUB: Junior forward Kelsey Evans has accumulated a combined 1,223 points and rebounds so far in her career (670 points and 553 rebounds). Among Southern Conference players, Evans trails only Davidson’s Sophia Aleksandravicius (1,532 combined points and rebounds) and Appalachian State’s Anna Freeman (1,491 combined points and rebounds). Evans led the league in rebounding last season and was in the top-20 in scoring.
FIRST YEAR SUCCESS: Rookie Zora Stephenson has been one of the team’s top three-point shooters early this season, as the Vienna, Va., native has connected on 14-of-25 shots from beyond the arc this season, good for a 56-percent clip. Stephenson ranked sixth in the nation last week in three-point field goal percentage (second among freshmen).
HOME SWEET HOME: In three home games this season, Elon has a 2-1 record and is averaging 73.7 points per contest. Ali Ford is averaging 17.3 points per game at home, while Kelsey Evans is averaging 13.7 points and 8.3 boards per game. Rookie Zora Stephenson has connected on 10-of-19 (53 percent) of her three-point field goal attempts inside Alumni Gym this year. Elon has 10 remaining home games this season.
CLOSING IN ON THE CENTURY MARK: Senior Aiesha Harper enters Monday’s game having played in more games (94) than anyone on Elon’s current roster. The next closest player on Elon’s roster in games played is senior Erica Keto (77 games played).
BLOCK PARTY: As a team, Elon led the Southern Conference in blocked shots last season with 181 total (5.5 per game), as the Phoenix finished the year ranked in the top-10 nationally. So far this season, Elon has recorded a combined 26 blocks with junior center Lisa Archie leading the way with 10.