ELON, N.C. – Coming off two-straight wins in Southern Conference play, the Elon women’s basketball team shuffles off to Cullowhee, N.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 18, for a noon tip with the Western Carolina Catamounts.
THE SERIES: Wednesday marks the 34th all-time meeting between Elon and Western Carolina. The Catamounts lead the all-time series, 17-16. The Phoenix won the last meeting in blowout fashion, claiming a 76-49 win over WCU in Cullowhee. The 27-point win for Elon is its largest margin of victory over a SoCon opponent since joining the league. Kelsey Evans went for a career-high 24 points and tied a career-best at the time with 15 boards en route to league player of the week honors. Elon and WCU meet again this season on Feb. 27 for Senior Day in Alumni Gym.
ON THE HORIZON: Following Wednesday’s game at WCU, Elon is off for five days until the Phoenix welcomes Triad rival UNCG to Alumni Gym on Monday night, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m.
ON THE VERGE OF HISTORY: With two three-pointers in Elon’s win over College of Charleston on Jan. 15, Ali Ford sits at 231 in her career – four shy of breaking Lorretta Lawson’s school record of 234. Ford became the Southern Conference’s all-time three-point leader on Dec. 29 against Wagner, passing Davidson’s Janna Magette, who made 213 in her career. In four career games against WCU, Ford has knocked down 14 shots from long distance. Nationally, Ford ranks fifth in the country in three-pointers per game at 3.2.
DOWN TO THE WIRE: Aiesha Harper provided the late-game heroics for Elon on Jan. 13 against Georgia Southern. With 10 seconds left, Harper took the ball 94-feet to the basket through the GSU defense for a layup with 3.5 seconds remaining for the game-winner in a 61-60 victory. Two days later, Elon rallied late with a 15-4 run in the second half to claim a 51-46 win over CofC in Alumni Gym. An Ali Ford three-pointer with less than three minutes to play gave Elon its final lead of the game after trailing by as many as nine.
THE CLOSER: Kelsey Evans has been clutch down the stretch for the Phoenix this season. In the final five minutes of games this year, Evans has hit 15-of-17 shots from the field and is a perfect 10-for-10 at the free throw line.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS: With 15 points against CofC on Jan. 15, Ford now sits at 1,328 in her career. Ford ranks eighth all-time in scoring in school history. She needs 26 points to pass Lakia Hayes for seventh all-time. In her career, Ford has tallied a total of 29 games with 20 or more points.
ON POINT: Aiesha Harper leads the Southern Conference in assist-to-turnover ratio this season at 1.7 (68th nationally). Harper is tied for third in the SoCon in assists per game at 4.2.
ON THE GLASS: Elon is a perfect 7-0 this season when it outrebounds its opponent. Conversely, the Phoenix is 1-9 when losing the battle on the boards.
PLAY4KAY SET FOR FEB. 4: Elon will participate in the 2012 Play 4Kay initiative when the Phoenix women’s basketball team plays host to Furman on Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. Play 4Kay, formerly known as WBCA Pink Zone, is an initiative that allows a nation of coaches to raise awareness and funds for cancer research on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. The official charity is the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. The late Kay Yow, former Elon and NC State University head women’s basketball coach, served as the catalyst for Play 4Kay after her third recurrence of breast cancer in 2006. Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and passed away on January 24, 2009.
ROAD TO ASHEVILLE: The 2012 Southern Conference Tournament is scheduled for March 2-5 in Asheville, N.C. Kimmel Arena will play host to the first round and quarterfinal games on March 2-3 before the tournament shifts to the Asheville Civic Center for the semifinals and championship on March 4-5.