CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Elon University women’s basketball team held off a second-half surge by the Wagner Seahawks on Thursday, Dec. 29, to claim a 60-57 win on the final day of the Marriott Cavalier Classic inside John Paul Jones Arena.
Wagner erased a 14-point deficit make it a one-point game late after a pair of Kelly Clark free throws with 2:21 to play made it 54-53. But key jumpers down the stretch from Kelsey Evans and made freebies by Aiesha Harper proved to be too much for the Seahawks. Evans connected on two jumpers with less than two minutes remaining before Harper hit a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left.
Wagner had a chance to tie the game with 1.9 seconds remaining, but an Archambault three-point attempt missed wide of the basket.
The Phoenix evens its record to 6-6 on the season with the victory.
“Consistency on offense was key for us tonight. We were able to run our offense the way we wanted to against [Wagner’s] man defense in the first half and played well against their zone in the second half,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “Erica Keto was a warrior on the boards for us tonight and gave us a spark when we needed it. I’m proud of our team for battling for all 40 minutes against a quality opponent and it’s good to come out with a win.”
Evans led the Phoenix with 18 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field, while Harper finished with 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds. For her efforts, Harper was named to the Marriott Cavalier Classic All-Tournament Team.
The Phoenix won the battle on the boards, 41-40, including a 17-13 edge on the offensive glass. Kelsey Harris grabbed a team- and career-high 11 boards in 30 minutes of action.
Erica Keto played well off the bench, grabbing six boards and scoring six points in 20 minutes to lead the Phoenix reserves.
Elon held Wagner to 35 percent shooting in the win, including just a 2-of-8 clip from beyond the arc.
Elon took an 11-point lead with 6:21 to play in the first half after a great backdoor screen by Sam Coffer allowed Harper to slash to the basket for a layup to make it a 26-15 game.
The Phoenix took a 12-point lead, 31-19, into the locker room at intermission after limiting the Seahawks to 29 percent shooting in the first half on 8-of-28 field goal attempts. Wagner’s 19 first-half points mark the lowest total Elon has given up in any half this season.
The Seahawks made it a two-point game with under eight minutes to play after a Brittney Thorpe jumper made it a 44-42 game.
After the Seahawks tied the game at 46-all, Harris gave the Phoenix the lead back after connecting with a three with five minutes left.
The Phoenix kept the Seahawks at arm’s length from that point forward, as key shots from Evans and Harper down the stretch made the difference.
Elon returns to action on Dec. 31 with a 2 p.m. tilt in Morgantown, W.Va., against the West Virginia Mountaineers.