ELON, N.C. – The Elon University women’s basketball team plays its final home game of the 2011 calendar year on Wednesday night, Dec. 14, as the Phoenix welcomes the Campbell Fighting Camels to Alumni Gym. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
ELON VS. CAMPBELL: The Phoenix and Fighting Camels are meeting for the 28th time on Wednesday night. Campbell leads the all-time series, 18-9, but Elon has won two out of the last three games. The two squads last met on November 10, 2007 in Alumni Gym, with Campbell coming away with a 57-51 win. The Fighting Camels have won 10 out of 15 games played on Elon’s campus in a series dating back to 1972.
LOOKING AHEAD: Wednesday marks Elon’s final home game until a Jan. 7 contest against instate rival Appalachian State. The Phoenix returns to Southern Conference action on Saturday at Furman before heading to Spartanburg, S.C., on Monday to face Wofford.
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.
ABOUT CAMPBELL: The Fighting Camels enter Wednesday night with a 6-2 mark. Campbell’s game against Elon marks the second of four-straight games away from Buies Creek. The Fighting Camels are led by head coach Wanda Watkins, now in her 31st season at Campbell.
TOP OF THE HEAP: Freshman Zora Stephenson is shooting 57.1 percent (16-of-28) from three-point range so far this season, which is tied for No. 1 in the nation with Florida Gulf Coast’s Amber Rechis.
FORD TRACKER: Elon junior guard Ali Ford enters Wednesday’s game with 1,181 career points, good for 10th all-time in program history. Ford needs 71 points to pass Jana Siler (1988-92) for ninth all-time. Ford has knocked down 197 three-point field goals in her career, good for second all-time behind Loretta Lawson (234). Currently, Ford is ranked 14th in the nation in three-pointers per game (3.0).
25-POINT SALUTE: Elon’s 69-44 win over Samford on Dec. 5 marked the team’s largest margin of victory over a Southern Conference opponent since the Phoenix routed Western Carolina, 76-49, last season in Cullowhee. The win is tied for the second largest margin of victory over the league opponent since Elon joined the SoCon. In the team’s first year in the conference, the Phoenix topped College of Charleston, 97-72, on Feb. 7, 2004.
FIRST-YEAR SUCCESS: Elon rookies Zora Stephenson and Sam Coffer have already began their careers with a pair of huge games for the Phoenix. Stephenson knocked down eight three-pointers on Nov. 18 against Virginia Intermont en route to a game-high 28 points. On Dec. 5 against Samford, Coffer registered a season-high 20 points to lead the Phoenix to a 24-point win over the defending conference champions.