College Women’s Basketball: Eagles Squeak Past Phoenix in Alumni Gym

ELON, N.C. – A layup by Ali Ford with five seconds left did not fall the way of the Phoenix as the Elon women’s basketball team (2-2) dropped a 69-68 game to American (1-3) today, Nov. 24, in Alumni Gym.

The game saw 12 ties and 16 lead changes as Elon shot 48 percent from the field on 28-of-58 field goal attempts, while American hit 29-of-65 to shoot 44 percent. The Phoenix out-rebounded the Eagles by three, 35-32, and was perfect from the charity stripe. American managed to score 18 points off the maroon and gold’s 18 turnovers.

“We have to continue to work even when we win and work to get better,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We were a little rattled against the press but it wasn’t any type of press that we haven’t seen before. We need to stay poised and do what we know to do.”

Ford led all players with 21 points and also dished out a season-high six assists. Kelsey Evans recorded her third straight double-double with a season-high 20 points and 11 boards. The senior is now one point shy of becoming the 19th player in program history to reach 1,000-career points. Jessica Farmer was the third Elon player to score in double figures with a career-high 10 points.

American led by seven, 18-11, with 13:29 left in the first before a 10-2 run by the Phoenix, capped by a three-point play by Evans off a layup and made free throw, gave the maroon and gold a 21-20 advantage with just over 10 minutes to play.

A layup by Ford at the 2:15 mark put the Phoenix up 32-28 with its largest lead of the half and forced an Eagle timeout. Back-to-back threes by American’s Alexis Dobbs and Jen Dumiak then gave the Eagles a two-point advantage, 34-32. Elon pulled even off a Farmer jumper with 21 seconds remaining to knot the score, 34-all, at the half.

The Eagles came out strong to start the second half taking a nine-point edge, 48-39, at the 16:27 mark. A jumper by Zora Stephenson stopped the American surge and started a 14-0 run that spanned over three minutes and saw seven straight points from Evans to take a 53-48 lead with 11:51 remaining.

American knotted the game for the eighth time at 53-all and the score differential remained within one possession until Elon moved ahead by four, 68-64, with just under four minutes to play. The Eagles’ Aaron Zimmerman completed a three-point play on a free throw to finish a five-point run to move ahead, 69-68 with 14 seconds left.

Elon then inbounded the ball as Ford took it down the court for an attempted layup with five ticks on the clock. The ball fell off the rim and American’s Michelle Holmes grabbed the rebound. Elon was not able to get another shot off as the Eagles walked away with the one-point win.

The Phoenix will close out its four-game home stand with its conference opener against College of Charleston on Saturday, Dec. 1, in Alumni Gym. Tip is set for 2 p.m.