ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team opened the second half with a 25-6 run to cut a 24-point Appalachian State lead down to five on Saturday, Jan. 7, but the Phoenix came up just short, falling 72-58 to the Mountaineers.
Trailing by 24 points at halftime, Phoenix (6-9, 2-4 Southern Conference) methodically chipped away at ASU’s lead, bringing the deficit to 13 with 14:16 to play following an Aiesha Harper layup off an ASU (10-2, 4-0 SoCon) turnover.
Elon kept its foot on the gas pedal, as a Harper three-pointer from the corner with 12:18 remaining put the Phoenix within 10 points, 51-41. The maroon and gold faithful in Alumni Gym erupted with 10:42 to play after Ali Ford made it a five-point game after connecting from long-distance in front of the Elon bench to limit ASU to a 51-46 advantage.
But that was as close as the Phoenix would come, as the Mountaineers went on a 10-1 run to take a 61-47 lead after an Anna Freeman layup following an Elon turnover. ASU kept the Phoenix at arm’s length from that point forward, as Elon could pull no closer than eight points down the stretch.
“I am so proud of the way we battled in the second half and showed our toughness and ability to overcome adversity,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We came out of the locker room in the second half with a ton of passion and energy and our amazing fans really helped us battle back. Winning the battle on the boards in the final 20 minutes was great to see and I was happy to see us create good looks on offense through our defense.
Putting to halves together will be important for us moving forward. Right now, we’re focused on us and continuing to get better every day in practice.”
Ford finished the night with a team-high 17 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the field, including a 4-of-11 clip from beyond the arc. Ford is now 11 three-pointers shy of passing Loretta Lawson as the program’s all-time leader in three-point field goals.
Harper finished the night with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting to go along with three assists.
Appalachian State won the battle on the boards, 40-32, but the Phoenix claimed a 22-14 edge in the second half on the glass, including a 12-3 advantage on offense.
Kelsey Harris registered a career-high three blocks versus the Mountaineers, as the Phoenix finished the game with an 8-3 edge in blocked shots. Harris has now hit career-high marks in points, field goals, rebounds, and now blocks so far this season.
Seeing action for the first time this season, rookie Shannen Cochraham scored her first collegiate basket with 13:18 remaining in the first half after Ford hit her under the basket for a layup to limit ASU to an 11-5 lead. Cochraham finished the night with three points, four boards and blocked shot in 14 minutes.
The Mountaineers claimed their largest lead of the game at intermission with a 45-21 advantage. ASU knocked down 51-percent of its field goals in the opening frame (19-of-37) while limiting the Phoenix to a 32-percent clip from the field on 8-of-25 field goal attempts.
Elon is off for the next six days until a Jan. 13 contest at home against Georgia Southern.